FBI Director James Comey's Pattern Of Breaking Protocol, Making Contradictory Statements, And Taking Puzzling Actions Calls Into Question His Credibility
- During his tenure, FBI Director James Comey made bizarre decisions, contradictory statements, and engaged in actions contrary to Department of Justice and FBI protocol, all of which should call into question his credibility ahead of his book tour.
- Comey's allegation of interference by President Trump in an investigation is contradicted by his own, and others, prior testimony.
- Despite testifying in May 2017 that he had never been an anonymous source, Comey admitted in June 2017 he had used a close friend to leak memos to the press.
- Comey repeatedly usurped the authority of United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, including a bizarre decision to rely on unverified documents to justify closing the Clinton email investigation.
- Comey broke longstanding FBI and DOJ protocol several times by publicly acknowledging the existence of ongoing FBI investigations.
- Comey inappropriately presented and lent credibility to undocumented and unverified information (which later was revealed to be DNC/Clinton-funded opposition research) concerning President-elect Trump.
- Comey testified to his ignorance of the parameters of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from an ongoing FBI investigation, despite receiving information the very day of Sessions' recusal outlining its details.
FBI DIRECTOR COMEY'S STORY ABOUT INTERFERENCE IN AN FBI INVESTIGATION IS CONTRADICTED BY HIS AND OTHERS TESTIMONY
In June 2017, Comey Testified That President Trump "Directed" Him To Stop His Investigation Into Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn In A February 2017 Meeting
Comey Testified That President Trump Spoke To Him About The Investigation Of Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. SEN. JAMES RISCH (R-ID): "You wrote down the words so we can all have the words in front of us now. There's 28 words there that are in quotes, and it says, quote, 'I hope' - this is the president speaking - 'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.' Now those are his exact words, is that correct?" FBI DIRECTOR COMEY: "Correct." (James Comey, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, U.S. Senate, Hearing , 06/08/17)
Comey Testified That He Interpreted President Trump As Giving Him "Direction" To Stop His Investigation Into General Flynn. RISCH: "He said, 'I hope.' Now, like me, you probably did hundreds of cases, maybe thousands of cases charging people with criminal offenses. And, of course, you have knowledge of the thousands of cases out there that - where people have been charged. Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice or, for that matter, any other criminal offense, where this - they said, or thought, they hoped for an outcome?" COMEY: "I don't know well enough to answer. And the reason I keep saying his words is I took it as a direction." (James Comey, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, U.S. Senate, Hearing , 06/08/17)
Comey Reaffirmed To Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) That He Interpreted The President As Directing Him To Stop The Flynn Investigation. SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): "Thank you. You have testified that you interpret the discussion with the president about Flynn as a direction to stop the investigation. Is that correct?" COMEY: "Yes." (James Comey, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, U.S. Senate, Hearing , 06/08/17)
However, Just One Month Earlier, Comey Testified That He Had Never Been In A Situation Where The FBI Was Told To Stop An Investigation For A Political Reason
In May 2017, When Asked Whether Senior Officials Could Halt A Specific Investigation, FBI Director Comey Replied That, In His Experience, He Had Never Been Asked To Halt An FBI Investigation For Political Reasons. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): "So if the Attorney General or senior officials at the Department of Justice opposes a specific investigation, can they halt that FBI investigations?" FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: "In theory yes." HIRONO: "Has it happened?" COMEY: "Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something that -- without an appropriate purpose. I mean where oftentimes they give us opinions that we don't see a case there and so you ought to stop investing resources in it. But I'm talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason, that would be a very big deal. It's not happened in my experience." (James Comey, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing , 05/03/17)
In May 2017, Then-Acting FBI Director McCabe Stated That, "There Has Been No Effort To Impede Our Investigations." SEN. MARCO RUBIO: "Mr. McCabe, can you, without going into the specifics of any investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped, negatively impacted any of the work, any of the investigation or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau Of Investigations?" ACTING FBI DIRECTOR ANDREW MCCABE: "As you know Senator, the work of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions, so there has been no been no effort to impede our investigations to date." (Committee On Intelligence, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 05/11/17)
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY ADMITTED TO LEAKING MEMOS TO THE PRESS IN ORDER TO TRIGGER THE APPOINTMENT OF A SPECIAL COUNSEL
Despite Previously Testifying He Had Never Leaked Information, FBI Director Comey Admitted To The Senate Intelligence Committee That He Had Authorized The Leak Of His Memos In Order To Prompt A Special Counsel Investigation
In His May 3, 2017, Testimony In Front Of The Senate Judiciary Committee, Former FBI Director Comey Stated He Had Never Been An Anonymous Source, Nor Authorized Someone Else To Be An Anonymous Source, In News Reports Concerning The Trump Or Clinton Investigation. SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): "Director Comey, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?" FORMER FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: "Never." GRASSLEY: "Question two, relatively related, have you ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?" COMEY: "No." (James Comey, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing , 05/03/17)
On May 16, 2017, The New York Times Reported Details Of A Memo Written By Comey While FBI Director Which Detailed A Conversation With President Trump Following The Resignation Of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. "Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo." (Michael Schmidt, "Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him To End Flynn Investigation," The New York Times , 05/16/17)
Shortly After His Dismissal As The Head Of The FBI, James Comey Authorized A "Close Friend" To Leak The Contents Of His Memos In Order To Prompt A Special Counsel Investigation. "Shortly after his dismissal as head of the FBI, James Comey authorized 'a close friend' to leak the contents of his memos to the press in order to prompt a special counsel investigation." (Katie Bo Williams, "Comey Leaked Memos To Prompt Special Counsel," The Hill , 06/08/17)
On June 8, 2017, Comey Admitted To The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence He Asked A Close Friend To Share The Contents Of The Memo With A Reporter With The Hope It Might Prompt The Appointment Of A Special Counsel. SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): "Finally, did you show copies of your memos to anyone outside of the Department of Justice?" COMEY: "Yes." COLLINS: "And to whom did you show copies?" COMEY: "I asked - the President tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I better hope there's not tapes. I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night because it didn't dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation. There might a tape. My judgment was, I need to get that out into the public square. I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons. I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. I asked a close friend to do it." COLLINS: "Was that Mr. Wittes?" COMEY: "No." COLLINS: "Who was it?" COMEY: "A close friend who is a professor at Columbia law school." COLLINS: "Thank you." (James Comey, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, U.S. Senate, Hearing , 06/08/17)
COMEY RELIED ON INFORMATION HE SEEMED TO KNOW WAS UNRELIABLE AS A BASIS FOR CLOSING THE FBI CLINTON INVESTIGATION
On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey Convened A Press Conference To Announce The Closing Of The FBI's Hillary Clinton Email Investigation
On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey Convened A Press Conference To Give An Update On The Status Of The FBI's Investigation Of Hillary Clinton. COMEY: "Good morning. I'm here to give you an update on the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State. After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice." (James Comey, Remarks On The Investigation Of Secretary Hillary Clinton's Use Of A Personal E-Mail System , Washington D.C., 07/05/16)
At The Press Conference, Comey Declared The FBI Was Closing Its Investigation Into The Clinton Email Server And That "No Reasonable Prosecutor Would Bring Such A Case." COMEY: "Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person's actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past." (James Comey, Remarks On The Investigation Of Secretary Hillary Clinton's Use Of A Personal E-Mail System , Washington D.C., 07/05/16)
Comey Admitted The Press Conference Was Unusual Because He Had Not Coordinated Or Reviewed His Statement With The Department Of Justice Or Other Parts Of Government Beforehand
Comey Admitted His Press Conference Was Unusual Because He Had Not Coordinated Or Reviewed His Statement "In Any Way" With The Department Of Justice Or Any Other Part Of Government. COMEY: "This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government." (James Comey, Remarks On The Investigation Of Secretary Hillary Clinton's Use Of A Personal E-Mail System , Washington D.C., 07/05/16)
- Of The Department Of Justice, Comey Said "They Do Not Know What I Am About To Say." COMEY: "They do not know what I am about to say." (James Comey, Remarks On The Investigation Of Secretary Hillary Clinton's Use Of A Personal E-Mail System , Washington D.C., 07/05/16)
The Decision To Exclude The DOJ From The Clinton Investigation Was Due To A Russian Intelligence Document Referring To An Alleged Pledge By Attorney General Loretta Lynch To Control The Investigation
During The 2016 Presidential Primary Season, The FBI Received A Russian Intelligence Document Claiming There Existed A Tacit Understanding Between The Clinton Campaign And The Justice Department. " In The midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received what was described as a Russian intelligence document claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server." (Karoun Demirjian, and Devlin Barrett, "How A Dubious Russian Document Influenced The FBI's Handling Of The Clinton Probe," The Washington Post , 05/24/17)
The Russian Document Referred To An Email Allegedly Sent By Then Chair Of The Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) That Said Attorney General Loretta Lynch Had Told A Clinton Campaign Staffer "She Would Not Let The FBI Investigation Go Too Far." "It referred to an email supposedly written by the then-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and sent to Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, an organization founded by billionaire George Soros and dedicated to promoting democracy. The Russian document did not contain a copy of the email, but it described some of the contents of the purported message. In the supposed email, Wasserman Schultz claimed Lynch had been in private communication with a senior Clinton campaign staffer named Amanda Renteria during the campaign. The document indicated Lynch had told Renteria that she would not let the FBI investigation into Clinton go too far, according to people familiar with it." (Karoun Demirjian, and Devlin Barrett, "How A Dubious Russian Document Influenced The FBI's Handling Of The Clinton Probe, The Washington Post , 05/24/17)
Due To The Information Within The Document, Current And Former Justice Department Officials Claimed Comey "Relied On The Document" To Make His July Decision Alone "Without Justice Department Involvement." "Current and former officials have said that Comey relied on the document in making his July decision to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over." (Karoun Demirjian, and Devlin Barrett, "How A Dubious Russian Document Influenced The FBI's Handling Of The Clinton Probe," The Washington Post , 05/24/17)
In May 2017, It Was Reported The Russian Intelligence Document Was Viewed As "Unreliable And Possibly A Fake" Within The FBI, And That Comey Had Disregarded Internal Concerns And Used It To Shape His Handling Of The Clinton Probe
On May 24, 2017, The Washington Post Reported That Document Possessed Played A Key Role In Comey's Handling Of The Hillary Clinton Investigation Despite Being Viewed As "Unreliable And Possibly A Fake." "A secret document that officials say played a key role in then-FBI Director James B. Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake, according to people familiar with its contents." (Karoun Demirjian, and Devlin Barrett, "How A Dubious Russian Document Influenced The FBI's Handling Of The Clinton Probe," The Washington Post , 05/24/17)
The Washington Post Reported "From The Moment The Bureau Received The Document," Its Veracity Was Debated At The FBI. "From the moment the bureau received the document from a source in early March 2016, its veracity was the subject of an internal debate at the FBI." (Karoun Demirjian, and Devlin Barrett, "How A Dubious Russian Document Influenced The FBI's Handling Of The Clinton Probe, The Washington Post , 05/24/17)
Even "According To The FBI's Own Assessment, The Document Was Bad Intelligence," And By August, "The FBI Had Concluded It Was Unreliable." "But according to the FBI's own assessment, the document was bad intelligence - and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable." (Karoun Demirjian, and Devlin Barrett, "How A Dubious Russian Document Influenced The FBI's Handling Of The Clinton Probe, The Washington Post , 05/24/17)
CNN Reported That Comey And FBI Officials "Knew Early On That This Intelligence Was Indeed False." "US officials now tell CNN that Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false." (Dana Bash, Shimon Prokupecz, and Gloria Borger, "Sources: Comey Acted On Russian Intelligence He Knew Was Fake," CNN , 05/26/17)
Comey Felt It "Didn't Matter If The Information Was Accurate Or Not" And That Comey Cited The Intelligence In At Least One Classified Session As The Primary Reason He Publicly Announced The End Of The Clinton Probe. "Still, Comey did not let on to lawmakers that there were doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to sources familiar with the briefings. It is unclear why Comey was not more forthcoming in a classified setting. Sources close to Comey tell CNN he felt that it didn't matter if the information was accurate, because his big fear was that if the Russians released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods. There were other factors behind Comey's decision, sources say. In at least one classified session, Comey cited that intelligence as the primary reason he took the unusual step of publicly announcing the end of the Clinton email probe." (Dana Bash, Shimon Prokupecz, and Gloria Borger, "Sources: Comey Acted On Russian Intelligence He Knew Was Fake," CNN , 05/26/17)
IN A VIOLATION OF DOJ PROTOCOL, DIRECTOR COMEY PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED AN INVESTIGATION INTO NEW CLINTON EMAILS IMMEDIATELY BEFORE AN ELECTION, DESPITE POSSESSING THE "NEW EMAILS" FOR AT LEAST THREE WEEKS
On October 28, 2016, Director Comey Sent A Letter To Congress Stating The FBI Had Reopened A Previously Closed Investigation Into Hillary Clinton's Use Of Private Email Servers
FBI Director James Comey Sent A Letter To Congress On October 28, 2016, Saying The Bureau Was Investigating Additional Emails Relevant To The Hillary Clinton Email Case. "On Friday, FBI Director James B. Comey sent a letter to Congress saying the bureau is investigating additional emails that appear relevant to the Hillary Clinton email case. Soon after, he sent a note to his employees explaining his decision." (Sari Horwitz, "Read The Letter Comey Sent To FBI Employees Explaining His Controversial Decision On The Clinton Email Investigation," The New York Times , 10/28/16)
Comey, In A Letter To Congressional Chairmen, Wrote That "Due To Recent Developments," The FBI Was Taking "Investigative Steps" To Review Emails Pertinent To The Investigation Of Former Secretary Hillary Clinton's Personal Email Server. "In previous congressional testimony, I referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton's personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony. In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation." (James Comey, FBI Director, Letter To Congressional Chairman , 10/28/16)
Despite Claiming The Emails Were "Newly Discovered", They Had Been In FBI Possession For "About Three Weeks"
On January 30, 2017, The Washington Post Reported That The Justice Department's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz Was Questioning Why FBI No. 2 Andrew McCabe Appeared "Not To Act For About Three Weeks" On A Request To Examine New Hillary Clinton Emails. "The Justice Department's inspector general has been focused for months on why Andrew McCabe, as the No. 2 official at the FBI, appeared not to act for about three weeks on a request to examine a batch of Hillary Clinton-related emails found in the latter stages of the 2016 election campaign, according to people familiar with the matter." (Devlin Barrett, and Karoun Demirjian, "Internal Justice Department Probe Eyes McCabe's Role In Final Weeks Of 2016 Election," The Washington Post , 01/30/17)
Horowitz Asked Witnesses Why FBI Leadership Seemed Unwilling To Move Forward Until Late October, "Three Weeks After First Being Alerted To The Issue. " "The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, has been asking witnesses why FBI leadership seemed unwilling to move forward on the examination of emails found on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) until late October - about three weeks after first being alerted to the issue, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter." (Devlin Barrett, and Karoun Demirjian, "Internal Justice Department Probe Eyes McCabe's Role In Final Weeks Of 2016 Election," The Washington Post , 01/30/17)
Comey's Decision To Reopen The Investigation Was Widely Criticized And Led Several Democrats To Call For His Resignation For Taking Actions That Were "Against Protocol" And "Unacceptable"
The Justice Department Strongly Discouraged Comey From Sending His Letter To Congress Saying It Would Be A Break With "Longstanding Policy" Of Not Discussing Current Criminal Investigations. "The day before the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, sent a letter to Congress announcing that new evidence had been discovered that might be related to the completed Hillary Clinton email investigation, the Justice Department strongly discouraged the step and told him that he would be breaking with longstanding policy, three law enforcement officials said on Saturday. Senior Justice Department officials did not move to stop him from sending the letter, officials said, but they did everything short of it, pointing to policies against talking about current criminal investigations or being seen as meddling in elections." (Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Michael Schmidt, and William Rashbaum, "Justice Dept. Strongly Discouraged Comey On Move In Clinton Email Case," The New York Times , 10/29/16)
When Attorney General Loretta Lynch Was Told Of Comey's Plan To Reopen The Investigation, She Was Both "Stunned And Confused." "That afternoon, Mr. Comey's chief of staff called the office of Ms. Yates, the deputy attorney general, and revealed the plan. When Ms. Lynch was told, she was both stunned and confused. While the Justice Department's rules on 'election year sensitivities' do not expressly forbid making comments close to an election, administrations of both parties have interpreted them as a broad prohibition against anything that may influence a political outcome." (Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, Adam Goldman, and Eric Lichtblau, "Comey Tried To Shield The F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped An Election," The New York Times , 04/22/17)
Ms. Lynch's Aides, Through A Series Of Phones Calles, Urged Comey's Deputies Not To Tell Congress Until Agents Knew What The Emails Contained. "Ms. Lynch understood Mr. Comey's predicament, but not his hurry. In a series of phone calls, her aides told Mr. Comey's deputies that there was no need to tell Congress anything until agents knew what the emails contained." (Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, Adam Goldman, And Eric Lichtblau, "Comey Tried To Shield The F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped An Election," The New York Times , 04/22/17)
On November 2, 2016, Democratic Minority Leader Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Said Comey Was Perhaps "Not In The Right Job." DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADER REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): "So I think he made a mistake and these jobs, if you're not in it for a while, you can't take the heat and I think he just couldn't take the heat from the Republicans. It's really unfortunate because I do believe he is a good person Maybe, he's not in the right job." (CNN's "Tonight," 11/02/16)
Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Stated That "Of Course" Comey Should Resign. MSNCB's JOY REID: "Do you believe Jim Comey should resign Senator Reid?" SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): "Of course, yes." (MSNBC's "AM Joy," 12/10/16)
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Said That In Light Of Comey's Actions, It "Would Not Be A Bad Thing For The American People" If Comey Stepped Down. ABC's GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "Should he step down?" SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): "I think he should take a hard look at what he's done and I think it would not be a bad thing for the American people if he did step down." (ABC's "This Week," 01/15/17)
Following Comey's Letter To Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Said He Did "Not Have Confidence In Him Any Longer." "Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), the soon-to-be-top-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said on Wednesday that he's lost faith in James Comey following the FBI director's handling of newly discovered emails potentially related to Hillary Clinton. 'I do not have confidence in him any longer,' Schumer told Bloomberg News. He went on to call Comey's letter to members of Congress, which alerted them to the discovery of emails that may or may not be pertinent to the FBI's prior investigation into Clinton's private email server, 'appalling.'" (Sam Stein, "Chuck Schumer Says He's Lost Confidence In James Comey," Huffington Post , 11/2/16)
ON JANUARY 6, 2017, FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY MET WITH PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP AND GAVE FALSE CREDIBILITY AND MOMENTUM TO AN UNVERIFIED AND SALACIOUS DNC/CLINTON FUNDED DOSSIER
Despite Obvious Indications It Was Unreliable, FBI Director James Comey Informed President Trump About Information Contained In The Fusion GPS Dossier
On Friday January 6, 2017, Comey Informed President Trump Of The Existence Of Unverified Allegations Made Against Him Concerning Ties To Russia In 35 Pages Of Memos Prepared By A Former British Spy. "President-elect Donald Trump was informed about the existence of the unverified allegations against him about Russian ties after last Friday's Intel briefing at Trump Tower on alleged Russian hacking, U.S. officials told NBC News. A senior U.S. official said that it was FBI Director James Comey himself who pulled Trump aside after the briefing and spoke with him one-on-one about the so-called 'dossier,' 35 pages of memos prepared by a former British spy for an anti-Trump client prior to last year's election." (Shawn Thew, "FBI's Comey Told Trump About Russia Dossier After Intel Briefing," NBC News , 01/12/17)
Following Comey's Meeting, Buzzfeed Published The Fusion GPS Dossier Citing The FBI's Presentation Of The Material To President-Elect Trump As Proof Of The Dossier's Credibility
On January 10, 2017 BuzzFeed Publicized The Dossier Calling It "Explosive," "Unverified," And "Potentially Unverifiable." "A dossier making explosive - but unverified - allegations that the Russian government has been 'cultivating, supporting and assisting' President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents, and journalists for weeks. The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump. Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government." (Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder, Mark Schoofs, "These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia," BuzzFeed News , 01/10/17)
BuzzFeed Editor-In-Chief Ben Smith Justified The Publication Because Of The Weight Law Enforcement And Intelligence Officials Placed On The Document, "Noting That The FBI Briefed President Trump Himself On The Matter." "BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith defended the website on Wednesday against allegations that it published a controversial opposition research dossier claiming ties between the Trump campaign and Russia out of partisan favoritism. In a combative interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson, Smith said that BuzzFeed made the call to publish the dossier because of the reported weight law enforcement and intelligence officials placed on the document, noting that the FBI briefed President Trump himself on the matter." (Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder, Mark Schoofs, "These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia," BuzzFeed News , 01/10/17)
Representative Peter King (R-NY): Within Hours News Of The Dossier Was Leaked And "Gave The Media The Excuse Or The Rationale To Publish Almost The Entire Dossier." REP. PETER KING (R-NY): "I think it was on January 6, when yourself, Admiral Rogers, Director Brennan, and General Clapper went to Trump tower to meet with President Trump. The media reports are that at the end of that meeting, Director Comey, you presented president-elect Trump with a copy of the now infamous or famous dossier. And I don't know how many people were in the room, but within hours, that was leaked to the media and that gave the media the excuse or the rationale to publish almost the entire dossier. Do you -- does that violate any law? I mean you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the United States and it had to be a very, very small universe of people who knew that you handed them that dossier and it was leaked out within hours. Are you making any effort to find out who leaked it and do you believe that constitute a criminal violation?" (James Comey, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing , 03/20/17)
Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson Later Testified That The Steele Dossier Had Been Produced For The Democratic National Committee. FUSION GPS CO-FOUNDER GLENN SIMPSON: "It's been a busy time. Okay. Okay. I'm sorry if I'm not giving you a clear answer. I knew it was the DNC that we were working for." REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): "Okay. How did you know it was the DNC?" SIMPSON: "I honestly don't -- I couldn't tell you if someone specifically said, this is for the DNC." GOWDY: "Well, how else would you know it was for the DNC? Did you read it?" SIMPSON: "As I'm trying to explain, I know -- I've been in Washington for a long time, and Perkins Coie represents the DNC." GOWDY: "So you knew it by habit and custom?" SIMPSON: "I'm -- yes." (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 20)
- Simpson Testified That Fusion GPS Was Paid $50,000 A Month To Compile Research Candidate Trump By The Democratic National Committee. REP. GOWDY (R-SC): "What was the budget for you to enjoy the freedom to pursue the lines of inquiry you wanted to pursue?" MR. SIMPSON: "I don't remember being given a specific expenses budget. I think the fees were $50,000 a month." REP. GOWDY (R-SC): "Flat fee, $50,000 a month?" MR. SIMPSON: "That's right. REP. GOWDY" (R-SC): "Plus expenses, minus expenses?" MR. SIMPSON: Plus expenses, yes. (Glenn Simpson, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence Interview Of Glenn Simpson, U.S. House Of Representatives , 11/14/17, p. 22)
DESPITE BEING GIVEN A DETAILED MEMORANDUM THE DAY OF SESSIONS' RECUSAL, FBI DIRECTOR COMEY WRONGLY TESTIFIED HE HAD NO OUTLINE CONCERNING THE PARAMETERS OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS' RECUSAL FROM THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
On June 8, 2017, Director Comey Testified He Was Unaware Of Any Memorandum From The Attorney General Or The Department Of Justice "Outlining The Parameters Of [Sessions'] Recusal"
On March 2, 2017, Trump Administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions Recused Himself From Any Investigations Of The Trump Campaign Due To His Involvement Within The Campaign. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that he will recuse himself from investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign, which would include any Russian interference in the electoral process. Speaking at a hastily called news conference at the Justice Department, Sessions said he was following the recommendation of department ethics officials after an evaluation of the rules and cases in which he might have a conflict. 'They said that since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be involved in any campaign investigation,' Sessions said. He added that he concurred with their assessment and would thus recuse himself from any existing or future investigation involving President Trump's 2016 campaign." (Karoun Demirjian, Ed O'Keefe, Sari Horwitz, and Matt Zapotosky, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions Will Recuse Himself From Any Probe Related To 2016 Presidential Campaign," The Washington Post , 03/02/17)
On June 8, 2017, Comey Testified That Neither The Attorney General Nor The Department Of Justice Had "Outlined The Parameters" Of The Attorney General's Recusal From The Russia Investigation . SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): "... OK. So was there any kind of memorandum issued from the attorney general or the Department of Justice to the FBI, outlining the parameters of his recusal?" FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: "Not that I'm aware of." HARRIS: "And do you know if he reviewed any FBI or DOJ documents pertaining to the investigation before he was recused?" COMEY: "I don't. I don't know." HARRIS: "And after he was recused, I'm assuming it's the same answer." COMEY: "Same answer." (James Comey, Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, U.S. Senate, Hearing , 06/08/17)
Following Comey's Testimony, The Department Of Justice Confirmed Comey Had Been Specifically Informed Of The Parameters Of The Attorney General's Recusal In An Email From Attorney General Sessions' Chief Of Staff
On June 8, 2017, The Department Of Justice Released A Statement Replying To Comey's Testimony. " Department of Justice Issues Statement on Testimony of Former FBI Director James Comey. In response to testimony given today by former FBI Director James Comey, Department of Justice Spokesman Ian Prior issued the following statement." (Press Release, "Statement On Testimony Of Former FBI Director James Comey," U.S. Department Of Justice , 06/08/17)
The DOJ Stated, Given Attorney General Sessions' Participation In The Trump Campaign, AG Sessions Decided On March 2, 2017 To Recuse Himself From "Any Existing Or Future Investigations" Related To The Campaigns For President Trump. "Given Attorney General Sessions' participation in President Trump's campaign, it was for that reason, and that reason alone, the Attorney General made the decision on March 2, 2017 to recuse himself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States." (Press Release, "Statement On Testimony Of Former FBI Director James Comey," U.S. Department Of Justice , 06/08/17)
In The Statement, The Department Of Justice Asserted That The Attorney General's Chief Of Staff Sent An Email On March 2, 2017 "Specifically Informing" FBI Director Comey And Other Department Officials Of The Parameters Of The Attorney General's Recusal. "However, on March 2, 2017, the Attorney General's Chief of Staff sent the attached email specifically informing Mr. Comey and other relevant Department officials of the recusal and its parameters, and advising that each of them instruct their staff 'not to brief the Attorney General *** about, or otherwise involve the Attorney General *** in, any such matters described.'" (Press Release, "Statement On Testimony Of Former FBI Director James Comey," U.S. Department Of Justice , 06/08/17)
COMEY GREATLY MISSTATED "KEY" FACTS RELATING TO HILLARY CLINTON'S EMAIL INVESTIGATION
Comey's Gross Inaccuracies During His Congressional Testimony "Severely Damaged" His Nonpartisan Reputation And Didn't "Help Him On The Competence Front"
Then-FBI Director Comey Told Congress That A Top Aide To Clinton Had "Sent Hundreds Of Thousands Of Emails To Her Husband's Laptop," Which Included Classified Information. "The FBI on Tuesday corrected the sworn testimony of Director James Comey, who last week told Congress that a top aide to Hillary Clinton had sent 'hundreds and thousands' of emails to her husband's laptop, including some with classified information." (Eric Tucker, "FBI Correct Comey Testimony On Clinton Aide Huma Abedin," The Associated Press , 05/10/17)
- In Fact, Only A "Small Number" Of Emails Were Sent To The Laptop. "In fact, the FBI said in a two-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, only 'a small number' of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there [to the laptop] while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices." (Eric Tucker, "FBI Correct Comey Testimony On Clinton Aide Huma Abedin," The Associated Press , 05/10/17)
- Of The Emails Sent To Her Husband, Anthony Weiner, "Only Two Email Chains Contained Classified Information." "However, only a 'small number' of the emails were forwarded by Abedin, the letter said, even though she 'commonly forwarded emails to others who would print documents for her.' Of those forwarded to Weiner, only two email chains contained classified information." (Jessica Estepa, "FBI: Director Comey's Testimony On Clinton Aide Was Inaccurate," USA Today , 05/09/17)
Comey's Misstatements Were "Key To Comey's Testimony, In That He Used Them To Defend His Decision To Disclose The New Clinton Emails" And Were Cited As "Proof Of The Seriousness Of The Email Discovery And The Need To Say Something." "To be clear, these weren't just small details that emerged from Comey's testimony on Wednesday; they were the headline for many new outlets that covered Comey's visit to the Senate Judiciary Committee, including The Post. They were also key to Comey's testimony, in that he used them to defend his decision to disclose the new Clinton emails just 11 days before Election Day. Facing questions from Democrats about why he did what he did, Comey cited these facts as proof of the seriousness of the email discovery and the need to say something." (Aaron Blake, "James Comey Just Stepped In It, Big Time," The Washington Post , 05/09/17)
Comey's Reputation As Nonpartisan Was "Severely Damaged." "Besides severely damaging Comey's nonpartisan reputation, here's why the number of emails of Weiner's computer matters: It risks undercutting the FBI's entire reason for notifying Congress 11 days before the election that it had found new information regarding its criminal probe of Clinton." (Amber Philips, "Why Does It Matter How Many Clinton Emails Were On Anthony Weiner's Computer?" The Washington Post , 05/09/17)
Getting Details "Of Such Import" Wrong During His Testimony "Doesn't Help Him On The Competence Front." "Getting details of such import wrong in his [Comey] much-watched testimony to Congress certainly doesn't help him on the competence front; indeed, it's difficult to see how he could get them so wrong." (Aaron Blake, "James Comey Just Stepped In It, Big Time," The Washington Post , 05/09/17)