The US Dept of Justice Inspector general’s report of 30 August, on former FBI-head James Comey and his memos, completely trashes any of his remaining claims to professional integrity. By the report laying out what he and others plotted and planned against Donald Trump personally, it destroys the reputations of the other involved leaders of FBI, Dept of Justice, Intelligence and CIA.
Even after this initial setup of Trump on 7 January 2017 he had some room for an honest reassessment of the information gleaned from the Trump meeting. Yet he doubled down and added more evidence to show him a wholly discredited man.
Comey lies about a defensive briefing
This OIG report on James Comey memos also proves many things about the nature and knowledge of the actions by Comey and other Obama top administration figures, possibly including Obama himself. In particular, it lays bare the direct involvement and the lies of Comey. He long claimed that he was an honest broker, keen to give a “defensive briefing” to the President-elect, continuing this deception even after his dismissal in his sworn evidence to Congress on June 8 2017. In paragraph 3 of his prepared statement to Congress he held to the claim that it was a defensive briefing.
That this is and always was untrue is shown by the just-released IG report where something a lot closer to the truth is exposed. I say “closer to the truth” because it was obviously an action to capture statements from Trump who they considered “a liar” (Comey in various records to Congress) or someone who would “misrepresent what happened in the encounter” (IG report p 18). We can forget the idea of just letting him know in a “defensive briefing” claim (on oath!).
In any case, the contextual facts are that since early in 2016, if not 2015,there were very heavy investigations going on into the Trump campaign and its supposed Russian interference. That there was involvement by overseas intelligence services is undoubted and the Guardian, the most favourable to the Obama administration, claims it as defensive of national security but there are others where the actual nature of that involvement is yet to be determined, from them being innocent observers and reporters of activity, to actual high-level participation in an effort to smear the Trump administration through a fraudulent use of these intelligence services.
The dossier (part only) was merely the pretence for a meeting
As for the purpose of the meeting, the dossier was the key. But only a small part of it. There is much evidence to show that multiple media outlets were in possession of the Steele Dossier – the whole dossier – and had refused to publish it because it was not, could not and, to date, still hasn’t been verified. This meeting was instantly publicised in the media and Clapper even made a public comment about it. Within days CNN was shouting it loud and then Buzzfeed published the whole dossier. By going to the IG report itself for the claims as to the origin of the meeting purpose – it was supposedly to put the ‘salacious’ information to Trump – we see it was not to warn him of its existence as Comey and others claimed, but to gauge his reaction to it and to use that reaction to further their investigations against him and others.
Why show only the salacious part of the dossier? Worried about publication about to take place? Why wouldn’t they give him some of the really damaging parts of it if all they wanted was to get his immediate response? No, it doesn’t fit, especially as James Clapper the head of the office for National Intelligence, for one, was briefing, CNN journalist Jake Tapper of the existence of the dossier anyway. The House Intelligence Memo of 22 March 2018 gives a record of its Clapper evidence where he admitted to it.
Unlike the Comey evidence to Congress on June 8, 2017 where he claims he recorded it because he thought Trump would lie about what was said, it is admitted in the report that they wanted to record his comments as it might help their investigations which he – and others no doubt – thought of as serious an investigation as a FISA-level one! Defensive briefing for Trump’s benefit?
The Trump reply demanded a change of course, not doubling down
The worst part of it all was that if (and only if) this group of people leading the charge against Trump and co were objective players and not biased or closed to new facts, the actual response of Donald Trump would have resulted in a check to the thinking of Comey and co.
The immediate and clear denial by Donald Trump of every part of the “salacious” claims would bring a true investigator to a halt for reassessment. In many investigations, including some of the most serious of all, immediate responses of that kind, given without time for preparation, forewarning etc are treated as being of high evidentiary value.
What did Comey and the others do? Certainly no reassessment of any evidence against Trump. Nor, as one would expect to be demanded, was there any new assessment of the dossier claims themselves or of the credibility of their author Christopher Steele. No, the action by Comey and others was to double down and continue as if those denials had never occurred. It was as if the Steele dossier stood unchallenged.
Comey and Co did more than just ignore the Trump denials. They moved onto another long-term target, the Trump National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. Among the grave doubts about the combined attack on Flynn are that they included the notorious Mueller team members previously excoriated for prosecutorial misconduct and the whole prosecution itself is now subject to serious challenge.
Comey, in his arrogance, actually boasted out loud – and on record – of his deliberate misleading of Flynn in order to dissuade him from gaining either legal advice or to alert the White House of the Comey team plans to interview Flynn. Comey seemed amused by Flynn not having the opportunity to get this “usual” advice.
It should be noted that the Comey attitude and actions in relation to the Flynn interview are not the only faults of that process by any means, nor is his part in it the major one. No, people far higher than him, possibly at the highest level of all, are carrying much more blame for any injustices perpetuated against Flynn. Due to the latest challenge though, we shall have to wait a while to see how that plays out.
More revelations are coming out day by day. The full Inspector General’s report into FISA Court abuse is due at any time. And Attorney-General Barr has prosecutors working on investigations and incidents trying to determine how the investigations got started and so on. What this interim report on Comey has done, however, is to brand Comey as acting in bad faith and it should (but probably won’t) condemn him forever as a partisan and in a class of ”leader” of the FBI to which only Hoover himself has so far been admitted.