James Comey

September 17, 2019 – Trump directs ODNI, DoJ and FBI to immediately declassify materials

The White House Press Secretary released the following statement on September 17, 2019:

At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.

(whitehouse.gov/briefing, 9/17/2019)

January 6, 2017 – The DOJ OIG report on Comey’s memos details plans to ambush Trump with Moscow sex allegation

(L-R) James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, and Adm. Michael Rogers testify about “worldwide cyber threats” during an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on September 10, 2015. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(…) “On Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, along with CIA head John Brennan, national intelligence chief James Clapper, and NSA Director Mike Rogers, met with Trump in Trump Tower in New York. Together, they briefed the president-elect on the findings of the intelligence community investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

But the group, and especially Comey, had bigger plans than that. Before the meeting, they agreed that after briefing Trump on Russian efforts, the others would leave and Comey would stay to brief Trump alone about the Steele Moscow sex allegation.

Comey and top FBI officials prepared meticulously for the moment. The IG report says Comey had a planning meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, chief of staff James Rybicki, general counsel James Baker, and “the supervisors of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.” (It is unclear who was in that last group, although the now-famous FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page played large roles in the investigation.)

The IG report says the group “agreed that the briefing needed to be one-on-one so that Comey could present the ‘salacious’ information in the most discreet and least embarrassing way.” But however it was presented, the FBI leaders worried that Trump might “perceive the one-on-one briefing as an effort to hold information over him like a ‘Hoover-esque type of plot.'” That was a reference to the FBI’s notorious founding director J. Edgar Hoover, who relished keeping (and using) embarrassing secrets on top political leaders.

The group discussed how Trump might react. In particular, they considered whether he would “make statements about or provide information of value to the pending Russia interference investigation” known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Perhaps Trump would say something incriminating. The FBI officials made plans for Comey, immediately after leaving the meeting, to write down everything he could remember about whatever Trump said. Comey also wanted to discuss Trump’s reactions with top aides immediately. Comey told the inspector general it was “important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the salient details of those conversations.'” Bureau officials also wanted to be able to respond if Trump publicly “misrepresent[ed] what happened in the encounter.”

So, preparations were made. “Comey said he had a secure FBI laptop waiting for him in his FBI vehicle and that when he got into the vehicle, he was handed the laptop and ‘began typing as the vehicle moved,'” the report says. He worked on his account as the FBI car took him to the New York field office, where aides had set up a secure video teleconference with Rybicki, McCabe, Baker, and the “Crossfire Hurricane” supervisors. Comey continued to work on his memo after that and sent the group a final version the next day, Saturday, Jan. 7.

In his memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Comey wrote that at the Trump Tower briefing he assured the president-elect, “We are not investigating you, sir.” At the moment Comey said those words, he had the “Crossfire Hurricane” team ready for a secure video conference on Trump’s response to the Steele dossier allegation.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/29/2019)

August 31, 2019 – The Archey Declarations prove Comey/McCabe “small group” hid information from FBI investigators until they could get Mueller appointed

“There are two sets of documents that outline a precise picture.  Robert Mueller’s lead FBI Agent David Archey made sworn declarations to the court, without knowledge of FBI “whistleblower” information provided to DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz.

There is a distinct conflict within the IG report on James Comey (and memos) (Available Here) and the David Archey declarations (Available Here).  However, beyond the conflict, there’s an even more alarming picture of how Robert Mueller was deployed when all the information is overlaid on a timeline.   A very clear picture emerges; very clear.

In June 2017 CNN (and other media) filed a FOIA suit to gain the Comey memos.  As the lawsuit progressed through a lengthy battle -where the Mueller team did not want to turn over those memos- Mueller’s lead FBI agent, David Archey, made sworn declarations to the court.  Those statements became known as the “Archey Declarations.”  Inside those declarations, agent Archey provided a specific outline of the FBI and the memos.

Note the date – Agent Archey states the “investigative team” came into full possession of the Comey memos: on or by May 12th, 2017.”

The “investigative team” would be Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and then James Baker as lead counsel for the group.  The “Director’s staff” would be James Rybicki, who is identified by Archey as having “maintained” possession of the memos.

So this “small group”, particularly James Rybicki, is the center of the team.  This team is also confirmed by the IG Horowitz report. This team had the memos on May 12th, 2017.

Now we move into the aspect where the motives and ideology become clear when we look at the IG custodial record of the memos, as outlined by the Supervisory Special Agent in charge of Comey’s documents within the IG report, compared to the Archey declarations.

The FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) in charge of Comey’s document retrieval is the “whistleblower” who eventually went to the IG.  I’ll explain why and how below; and to make understanding easier we shall use “SSA Whistleblower” to describe him.

♦ On May 10th, the Comey memos were not in Comey’s office [per IG report].  At the time of the search and review of Comey’s office, there were no hard copies found by SSA Whistleblower.

Now, keep in mind “by May 12th” James Rybicki had all the Comey memos in his possession, per Mueller team FBI Agent David Archey.

♦ On May 12th, SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house along with James Rybicki and Deputy FBI Director David Bowditch.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 34) 

During this May 12th visit, James Comey never told SSA Whistleblower he had the memos in his personal safe.  James Rybicki was also present for this retrieval visit and also never told SSA Whistleblower that he was holding the memos in his FBI HQ office.

♦ On May 15th, three days later, James Rybicki then tells SSA Whistleblower he knows the location of the Comey memos; and Rybicki informs SSA Whistleblower he has additional relevant material.

(IG Report – Comey Memos-Page 38) 

From the IG Report: “Rybicki told the SSA that he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”   Very sketchy.

At this point, SSA Whistleblower had to suspect something sketchy was happening.  Keep in mind the following day May 16th, 2017, Comey sent memo content to his friend Daniel Richman with instructions to leak to the New York Times. (Article published 5:00 pm May 16, 2017)

If Rybicki didn’t inform SSA Whistleblower on May 15 about the Comey memos, then SSA Whistleblower would have found out from leaked media reports the next day May 16.

If Rybicki didn’t tell SSA Whistleblower about the memos on May 15, then it would have looked like the ‘small group’ was hiding and leaking the memos.  An intellectually honest review of the timing, and considering Rybicki had indeed been hiding the memos, leads to the conclusion Rybicki knew the NYT leak was coming; Rybicki was coordinating with James Comey; Rybicki/Comey were trying to avoid team scrutiny. [Further evidence of this surfaces in the Mueller contact timeline.]

By May 16th, 2017, SSA Whistleblower, had to see the sketchy nature of how this was unfolding.   As a result this scenario from the IG report now makes sense:

If we overlay the FBI “small group” contact with Robert Mueller an even more clear picture emerges.

“Crossfire Hurricane” – During 2016, after the November election and throughout the transition period and into 2017, the FBI had a counterintelligence investigation ongoing against Donald Trump. FBI Director James Comey’s memos were part of this time period as the FBI small group was gathering evidence.  Then Comey was fired…

♦ Tuesday, May 9th – James Comey was fired at approximately 5:00 pm EST.  Later we discover Rod Rosenstein first contacted Robert Mueller about the special counsel appointment less than 15 hours after James Comey was fired.

♦ Wednesday, May 10th – From congressional testimony, we know DAG Rod Rosenstein called Robert Mueller to discuss the special counsel appointment on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017, at 7:45 am. [See Biggs questions to Mueller at 2:26 of video]

According to his own admissions (NBC and CBS), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe immediately began a criminal ‘obstruction’ investigationWednesday, May 10th; and he immediately enlisted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A few hours after the Rosenstein-Mueller phone call, James Comey’s office was being searched by the SSA Whistleblower per the IG report on Comey’s memos.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 33) 

♦Thursday, May 11th – Andrew McCabe testified to congress. With the Comey firing fresh in the headlines.  McCabe testified there had been no effort to impede the FBI investigation.

Also on Thursday, May 11th, 2017, The New York Times printed an article, based on information seemingly leaked by James Comey, about a dinner conversation between the President and the FBI Director.   The “Loyalty” article [link].  The IG report shows: [Daniel] Richman confirmed to the OIG that he was one of the sources for the May 11 article, although he said he was not the source of the information in the article about the Trump Tower briefing“.

♦Friday, May 12th –  Andrew McCabe met with DAG Rod Rosenstein to discuss the ongoing issues with the investigation and firing.  Referencing the criminal ‘obstruction’ case McCabe had opened just two days before.  According to McCabe:

“[Rosenstein] asked for my thoughts about whether we needed a special counsel to oversee the Russia case. I said I thought it would help the investigation’s credibility. Later that day, I went to see Rosenstein again. This is the gist of what I said: I feel strongly that the investigation would be best served by having a special counsel.” (link)

According to Andy Biggs questioning of Mueller, on this same day, May 12th, evidence shows Robert Mueller met “in person” with Rod Rosenstein.  This is the same day when SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house to retrieve FBI material and both Rybicki and Comey never informed the agent about the memos:

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 34)

May 12th, is the date noted by David Archey when FBI investigators had assembled all of the Comey memos as evidence.  However, no-one in the FBI outside the “small group” knows about them.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017, another meeting between Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller, this time with AG Jeff Sessions also involved. [Per Andy Biggs]

♦ Sunday, May 14th –  Comey transmitted copies of Memos 2, 4, and 6, and a partially redacted copy of Memo 7 to Patrick Fitzgerald, who was one of Comey’s personal attorneys.  Fitzgerald received the email and PDF attachment from Comey at 2:27 p.m. on May 14, 2017, per the IG report.

♦ Monday, May 15th, McCabe states he and Rosenstein conferred again about the Special Counsel approach. McCabe: “I brought the matter up with him again after the weekend.”

On this same day was when James Rybicki called SSA Whistleblower to notify him of Comey’s memos. The memos were “stored” in a “reception area“, and in locked drawers in James Rybicki’s office.

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 38)

♦Tuesday May 16th – Per the IG report: “On the morning of May 16, Comey took digital photographs of both pages of Memo 4 with his personal cell phone. Comey then sent both photographs, via text message, to Richman”

On this same day, Rod Rosenstein takes Robert Mueller to the White House for a meeting in the oval office between President Trump, VP Pence, Robert Mueller, and Rod Rosenstein.    While they were meeting in the oval office, the following story was published by the New York Times (based on Comey memo leaks to Richman):

Also during the approximate time of this Oval Office meeting, Peter Strzok texts with Lisa Page about information relayed to him by Tashina Guahar (main justice) on behalf of Rod Rosenstein (who is at the White House).

Later that night, after the Oval Office meeting – According to the Mueller report, additional events on Tuesday May 16th, 2017:

Interesting that Tashina Gauhar was taking notes presumably involved in the May 16, 2017 meeting between, Lisa PageRod Rosenstein, and Andrew McCabe. 

This meeting at Main Justice appears to be happening in the evening (“later that night”) after the visit to the White House with Robert Mueller.  This meeting appears to be Lisa Page, Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe; along with Tashina Gauhar taking notes.

Why is Tuesday, May 16th, 2017, date of additional importance?

♦ Wednesday May 17th, 2017:  Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe go to brief the congressional “Gang-of-Eight”: Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes, Adam Schiff, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Richard Burr and Mark Warner.

(…) “On the afternoon of May 17, Rosenstein and I sat at the end of a long conference table in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. We were there to brief the so-called Gang of Eight—the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Rosenstein had, I knew, made a decision to appoint a special counsel in the Russia case.”

(…) “After reminding the committee of how the investigation began, I told them of additional steps we had taken. Then Rod took over and announced that he had appointed a special counsel to pursue the Russia investigation and that the special counsel was Robert Mueller.” (link)

Immediately following this May 17, 2017, Go8 briefing, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein notified the public of the special counsel appointment.

What is clear from a review of all the related and released information is the FBI small group (McCabe, Page, Strzok, Rybicki, Baker) were hiding the ongoing FBI investigation from other FBI officials (including the SSA Whistleblower), inside the department after Comey was fired.

McCabe launched a “criminal investigation” (obstruction) on May 10th, and Rosenstein was in immediate contact with Robert Mueller about being a special counsel after conversations with the FBI small group. The small group was then releasing information to their media allies, and hiding the releases from FBI agents outside the small group; until they no longer needed to do so (May 15).

On May 15th, it appears the SSA was finally notified of the Comey memos because the small group already knew Robert Mueller was going to be appointed.

Comey, his lawyers and Lawfare allies, together with the small group, coordinated to leak and publish the NYT article (May 16th) the day Mueller was interviewing President Trump in the oval office. They knew Mueller was going to be appointed the following day, May 17th.  The NYT leak was cover and ammunition for Rod Rosenstein to fulfill his role.

This is the Special Counsel as the insurance policy deployed.

Everything was a set up by the small group; exclusively executed by the small group; kept hidden from other FBI agents and officials; Mueller’s visit with President Trump was part of that investigative effort.

This overall conspiracy/plan is why the SSA turned to the Inspector General and requested Whistleblower protection.  This is also why IG Horowitz was motivated to carve out the Comey memos in his report.  KEY POINT – OIG Michael Horowitz has outlined the Special Counsel appointment as fraudulently predicated.

(Conservative Treehouse, 8/31/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 28, 2019 – The DOJ OIG report on Comey’s memos is released; the substance within the report shows a two-tiered Justice system

“Having just completed a first review of the IG Report on James Comey, with numerous highlights for further overlay and research, here are my thoughts upon initial review.

First, there is absolutely no doubt James Comey used his memos akin to FD-302 investigative reports from an FBI agent. Meaning, from beginning-to-end he considered himself an investigative agent against the President-elect and then President Trump.

Note: The recording of his encounter with the target, President-elect Trump should be “treated like FISA derived information in a counterintelligence investigation.”  During this January 6th operation, Comey was the active FBI agent gathering evidence for later use.  The collected intelligence would be shared with the team via memo #1.

Remember the Lisa Page Texts from the same date?

The FBI redacted almost all of that text because it outlines the distribution of the evidence Comey was collecting.   Comey’s memos were essentially FD-302 reports, and the officials within the DOJ and FBI didn’t want that exposed.  Lisa Page text was heavily redacted because it would have shown the January 6th encounter was an operation against Trump.

Every encounter and every aspect of every action within that encounter was conducted in what Comey perceived as an official investigative capacity.

President Trump was the target of Comey’s operations and he wrote his memos as investigative notes therein. Example: Comey ran the, operation:

So the “small group”: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Baker, Priestap, Rybicki, et al, were running a counterintelligence operation against the incoming administration.

There are parts of the IG report highlighting a stunning amount of self-interest.

Example:  Who made the decision(s) about what “was” or what “was not” classified?  Or, put another way: who was making the internal decisions about Comey’s exposure to legal risk for sharing his investigative notes (memos) outside the department?

The answer is the same “small group” who were carrying out the operation:

James Baker, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, James Rybicki and Lisa Page were determining what parts of James Comey’s investigative notes needed to be classified.

The corrupt FBI was in position to police itself.   This is not a conflict of interest, it is better described as a profound conflict of self-interest.

The information the ‘small group‘ wanted to use to frame the target would be visible, not classified; however, any material that would outline the construct of their corruption in targeting the target would be hidden, classified.  You can’t make this stuff up folks.

The “small group” WAS the sources and methods they were protecting.

Everything needed to understand that level of corruption is outlined in the way the IG report discusses the handling of James Comey’s investigative notes (ie. memos).  AND the fact that James Comey kept them hidden, yes hidden.  Read this stuff!

First, “no hard copies of any of the memos were found in Comey’s FBI office.”:

So, if the memos were not held in Director James Comey’s official FBI office, the next logical question is where were they?

Well, when Special Agents went to James Comey’s house, he still kept them hidden and never informed the agents:

If Mr. Altruism, James Comey, was simply fulfilling the duty of a concerned and dedicated FBI Director, why not tell the FBI agents -picking up FBI records- that he had copies of FBI investigative notes in his “personal safe” while they were there?

What honorable justification exists for keeping them hidden from valid investigators?

Obviously me, you and God are not the only ones able to see the sketchy nature of this construct.  In fact, an internal FBI whistleblower came forward soon after that search of Comey’s home to request official “whistleblower status protection” from the IG.

Think logically…. What would prompt someone inside the FBI; who at some point gained access to the Comey memos; to request ‘whistleblower protected status’?

Doesn’t the “whistleblower request” indicate the requesting FBI official saw something nefarious in the way this was all going down?

Who was that ‘whistleblower’?

Well, first, Captain Obvious would tell you it has to be someone who actually gained possession of those memos right?…. this is not a big group.  Second, you only need to read a few more pages of the IG report to see who it was:

The “whistleblower” was the Supervisory Special Agent described in page 38 as above.

The memos were “stored” in a “reception area“, and in locked drawers in James Rybicki’s office.  [“Drawer safes” are silly FBI legal terms for fancy locked drawers]  Also note…

Reception area“?  “May 15th“?

Well, (#1) apparently no-one wanted to be the one holding the hot potato of investigative evidence (Comey memos); that ownership would outline them as participatory members in carrying out the targeting of then President Trump.  Oh, yeah, those investigative notes were not in “the office of the FBI Director” on May 10th, when you were here searching the last time,… for some mysterious reason.. they, uh,… well, they were discovered…  in the “reception area“… yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!   Right under the four month old copy of People Magazine, n’ stuff.

….ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME WITH THIS?

…AND (#2) the very next morning, GUESS what happened?…

Now we see why the FBI Supervisory Special Agent in charge of inventorying Comey records asked the IG for official “whistleblower status.”

Sketchy warning flares surrounded the SSA agent right there in the FBI executive suites.

Of course the SSA gave the Inspector General the seven memos, asked for whistleblower protection, and likely told the IG the way they were produced stinks to high heaven.   Good grief. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/29/2019)

August 28, 2019 – Jeff Carlson: Highlights from the IG Report on Comey’s Memos

(Credit: Lazaro Gamio/Axios)

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a report on former FBI Director James Comey’s leaking of personal memos to his attorneys, a personal friend, and the media.

Comey had told the IG that he believed the memos shared with his attorneys did not contain any classified information.

However, the IG noted that specifically: “Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level—although Comey redacted all classified information in Memo 7 before sending to his attorneys.”

The IG report also noted that “Comey considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents.”

Comey maintained copies of Memos 2 through 7 at his personal residence—a fact that he failed to report to the FBI. Comey also provided James Rybicki, his chief of staff, with a copy of these same memos to maintain at FBI headquarters.

On May 14, 2017, Comey provided electronic copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to one of his personal attorneys, who subsequently shared the memos with two additional attorneys several days later on May 17, 2017. Memo 2 contained six words, four of which were names of specific countries that the FBI later deemed to be classified.

Leak to the Media

On May 16, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4 to Daniel Richman who was a “close personal friend” in addition to being one of Comey’s attorneys. Comey directed Richman to “share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times.”

Richman did have a security clearance at this time, but there appears to be no demonstrable “need to know” that is also a requirement for gaining access to classified information.

This memo contained information that was deemed by the FBI to be “For Official Use Only” but did not contain any classified information. The IG noted: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

The same day that Comey’s two additional attorneys gained access to his memos—May 17, 2017—former FBI Agent Peter Strzok sent a text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting, “F’in Pamela Brown knows there were two phone call memos.” Brown, a reporter for CNN, had reported on the existence of Comey Memos the night prior during a segment with Anderson Cooper but had yet to mention the phone call memos.

The Strzok text regarding Brown is notable for two reasons. One, Strzok was clearly familiar with the contents of Comey’s Memos, and two, Brown had to have learned of the “phone call Memos” from a source other than Richman—who had only received a copy of Memo 4, which detailed a physical meeting and did not mention any “phone call Memos.” It is not known who provided Brown with the additional information.

Notably, the FBI “first learned that Comey had shared Memo 4 with Richman while watching Comey’s public testimony before SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] on June 8, 2017.” Nor did Comey inform the FBI that he had shared Memos 2, 4, 6 and 7 with his personal attorneys. It was only after the FBI questioned Richman regarding Memo 4 that the FBI learned that Comey had also provided the additional memos to his attorneys.

Comey Kept Memos at His Home

The June 8, 2017, date is particularly notable because only the day before, on June 7, 2017, did Comey provide the copy of his memos that he kept in his home safe to the FBI at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Although the existence of the Comey Memos were well-known by this time, it does not appear that FBI personnel knew that Comey kept his own memo copies at home—until he turned them over.

The IG report highlighted Comey’s retention of his memos at his personal residence, noting: “We found it particularly concerning that Comey did not tell anyone from the FBI that he had retained copies of the Memos in his personal safe at home, even when his Chief of Staff, the FBI’s Associate Deputy Director, and three SSAs [Supervisory Special Agents] came to Comey’s house on May 12, 2017, to inventory and remove all FBI property.” Why Comey chose to not disclose this information to the FBI remains unknown.

According to the IG report, “[O]n June 7, 2017, Comey provided the SSA who came to his home with Comey’s signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7, which were the only Memos that Comey said he had retained at his residence.” Notably, the “SSA said he had been advised ahead of time that Comey had Memos to give to him.” The report does not disclose who advised the SSA, but it may have been Special Counsel Mueller.

Comey told the IG that “he voluntarily gave his signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the SSA at his house that day, not because he had concerns that they contained classified information, but “because Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] asked for them.”

How the Special Counsel came to learn that Comey had a personal copy of his memos at his house remains unknown, particularly as it appears that no one else within the FBI was aware of this fact until Comey turned the memos over.

Comey had previously viewed the FBI copies of his memos that had already been officially classified by the FBI on June 7, 2017, in preparation for his June 8 testimony. As a result, Comey was now aware of what the FBI deemed “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL.” As the IG report noted, “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.”

Lisa Page Obtains Memos Ostensibly for McCabe

Others within the FBI also had copies of Comey’s Memos. According to the IG’s report, “Page told the OIG that McCabe also allowed her to look at Memos 2, 3, and 4, but asked her not to share them with anybody. Page told the IG that “she decided to make and keep copies of these Memos because they were ‘just of the nature that [she] felt like there should be one other copy somewhere else.’” Page claimed not to know “if others in the FBI were keeping copies of the Memos.”

However, it appears that Page attempted to hide her possession of Comey’s Memos from other officials within the FBI. On May 10, 2017, Comey’s former chief of staff James Rybicki was contacted by Page who requested “a full set of the Memos.” Rybicki, who told the IG that Page said her request was made on behalf of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then made three copies of Comey’s Memos—one for himself, one for Page to pass along to McCabe, and one for FBI General Counsel James Baker. Notably, May 10, 2017, may have been the date that McCabe opened an investigation into President Donald J. Trump.

Page told the IG a somewhat different version of events, noting that “she did not think McCabe had asked her to assemble copies of the memos; she said she thought she did it on her own because she “knew that it needed to get done.” Additionally, Rybicki told the IG “that he was ‘surprised’ when he learned that Page already had copies of some of the Memos because he ‘didn’t think anybody maintained a copy’ other than him, and didn’t know how she got them.”

Comey told the IG that he considered “Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents,” but this assertion was roundly dismissed by other FBI officials. According to the IG report, “All of the FBI senior leaders interviewed by the OIG stated that the Memos were official government records.” McCabe told the IG that Comey’s Memos served as a “record of [Comey’s] official engagement with the President.” Baker said the memos were “related to official business” and that “they were discussed in the office in connection with [Comey’s] official responsibilities.” Rybicki said he had “treated the Memos as FBI records.” The FBI’s Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap characterized the memos as documents “produced by the Director in his capacity as Director … they’re FBI work product.”

Whistleblower Provided IG Memos

Interestingly, “shortly after Comey’s removal, a set of the seven Memos was provided to the OIG by a Department employee, who claimed whistleblower status,” the IG revealed in the report. The number of individuals within the FBI who had access to Comey’s Memos was comprised of a very small group. The IG noted that the whistleblower “viewed the Memos as extremely sensitive documents and was concerned that there should be a separate set deposited somewhere for safekeeping.” This means that the IG obtained possession of the Comey Memos very early on—since mid-May 2017.

Additionally, the IG revealed that it was then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who referred the matter of Comey’s Memos to the Office of the Inspector General for review in July 2017. McCabe may have been unaware that the IG already was in possession of Comey’s Memos via the unknown whistleblower.

Genesis of Comey’s Memos

In regards to the genesis of the Memos, Comey told the IG that it was his Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with President Trump that prompted him to begin the process of maintaining Memos detailing his interactions with the president. However, Comey had already written an earlier memo regarding a meeting with President Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, where Comey provided the president with details of the “salacious” information from the Steele dossier. Comey also told Congress a slightly different story, testifying on June 8, 2017, that he began creating memos from his very first interaction with President Trump, based on a “gut feeling.”

The IG report provides some intriguing details surrounding the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, and the manner in which that meeting was pre-determined to be fully documented by Comey.

“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious’ information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.

“Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the … salient details of those conversations.’ Comey also said that an additional concern, shared by the members of his management team, was that if the briefing became ‘a source of controversy’ it would be important to have a clear, contemporaneous record because Trump might ‘misrepresent what happened in the encounter.’”

It appears from the IG’s report that President Trump had no knowledge that Comey was transcribing their interactions. The FBI’s General Counsel, James Baker, told the IG that “it was his understanding that the small group of people who had access to the Memos ‘really didn’t want anyone to know the Director … was recording at this level of detail his interactions with the President’ because any perception that Comey was ‘keeping … book’ on the President would upset any effort to have an effective and ongoing working relationship.”

It should also be noted that Comey failed to keep any memos of his meetings with Obama and other Obama-era officials.

Memo 3 was one of those deemed to contain information classified at the “SECRET” level. In regards to this particular memo, Comey told the IG that he gave one copy to Rybicki, with instructions for Rybicki to show it to McCabe and Baker, while keeping the other copy in his desk drawer—located in his secure office. On May 10, 2017, the day immediately following Comey’s firing, a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) was assigned to inventory the contents of Comey’s office. As noted in the IG report, “According to the inventory, no hard copies of any of the Memos were found in Comey’s office.”

Five days later, on May 15, 2017, following a conversation with Comey, Rybicki notified the SSA that there “were additional documents belonging to Comey stored in the reception area near the former Director’s office.” Among these documents were six of the original Comey Memos. According to the IG, this was the first time the SSA learned of the existence of the Comey Memos. Rybicki told the SSA that “he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”

Comey Violated FBI Policy

The IG found that “Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement” and concluded that “Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”

The IG recognized that the “responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties” and pointedly noted that “Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”

The IG’s report also noted, “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

The IG provided a copy of his findings to the DOJ for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct. The DOJ declined prosecution. It is not known when the IG’s findings were first submitted to the DOJ. The IG then prepared this more comprehensive report that focused on whether Comey’s actions violated Department of FBI policy.

It was previously reported that the DOJ had declined prosecution of Comey. According to a source for Fox News, “Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

To underscore the difficulties the DOJ faced in pursuing a successful prosecution is the fact that Comey’s Memos were only classified by the FBI after Comey had leaked them. Additionally, the IG found no proof that “Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

A failed prosecution at this juncture would prove problematic to the overall investigation of Spygate. The IG’s pending report on FISA abuse is far more important and potentially significantly more damning. (themarketswork.com, 8/30/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 23, 2019 – Details behind Patrick Byrne’s allegations of FBI/DOJ “political espionage”

Former CEO Patrick Byrne has given four primary interviews where he outlines his knowledge of a 2015 and 2016 political espionage operation being run by the FBI.

Fox News, MacCallum – Fox Business #1 – Fox Business #2 – CNN, Cuomo

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

After a review of the interviews, and extracting specific points therein, here’s an overview.

The substance of Mr. Byrne’s claims does seem to align with what we already know about the DOJ and FBI activity during the 2016 election cycle, including the FBI operations.

First, Patrick Byrne claims he has spoken to the DOJ on April 5th, 2019, and again on April 30th, 2019.  Mr. Byrne states he told the DOJ all of the information he was aware of during those two interviews covering approximately seven hours of questioning.

The current public statements Mr. Byrne is making are not with the approval of the DOJ or any investigators therein.  His decision to go public with this information comes as a result of conversations with a life-long mentor and confidant, Warren Buffett.  Mr. Byrne states he has known Warren Buffett since Byrne was a teenager and Mr. Buffett was in his mid-forties.

According to his CNN interview Byrne talked to Buffett in about how he could be a witness in the DOJ investigation authorized by Attorney General Bill Barr and being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham.  After listening to the details, Buffett recommended Mr. Byrne go public with the story.

However, in order to go public Byrne would need to separate himself from his role as CEO of Overstock, the company Byrne founded.  Mr. Byrne resigned yesterday, August 22nd.

Byrne explains he told Buffett about his April conversations with the DOJ and Buffett said it didn’t matter… Byrne still needed to go public with the story. It sounds like there are several motives for going public; perhaps one is personal safety.

To verify his April DOJ discussion, Byrne points to two references:

♦First, the movement of Maria Butina from harsh isolation in prison on May 9th, ten days after he delivered his testimony to the DOJ.  According to Byrne Ms. Butina was moved to a very different White Collar facility based on his information.

♦The second reference point Byrne highlights is the May 13th DOJ appointment of John Durham to look into the origination of the Russia investigation events. Byrne says this too was a direct result of his two DOJ sessions April 5th and 30th.

If Byrne is accurate; and if his claims of him personally being an operative of the FBI with instructions to engage Ms. Butina inside the political espionage events structured by corrupt FBI officials are genuine; it would appear Special Counsel Robert Mueller facilitated throwing a bag over Ms Butina in an effort to keep the corrupt FBI intelligence operation hidden from the public. This would explain the Mueller demand for strict solitary isolation and confinement.  (The reports are indeed troubling)

Again, if Byrne is correct, it would appear that extremely significant and exculpatory Brady material -evidence that could easily prove an entrapment defense- was intentionally withheld from Ms. Butina’s defense team.   Alarmingly this points to ongoing corrupt officials that still remain inside the current DOJ.  Ms. Butina was collateral damage.


View on Scribd

A review of the time-frame details provided by Patrick Byrne in the four interviews shows his story told four times is consistent each time.

Here’s a brief review of the consistencies aspect:

After a cursory meeting in/around July 2015, Byrne claims in the period of September to December 2015 he reported contact with Russian national Ms. Maria Butina to the FBI as a precaution related to his security clearance.

Byrne claims he was asked to participate in an FBI intelligence operation and to introduce, and/or facilitate the introduction of, Ms. Butina to the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

In December of 2015 Mr. Byrne became suspicious of the FBI motives because he warned FBI officials of a potential that his efforts, his reputation and those who trust him, may result in Butina gaining entry into campaign confidences.  The FBI agents told Byrne that was exactly the intent; people high up in the FBI wanted Ms. Butina to gain deep access into the Trump campaign.  Mr. Byrne became suspicious of a corrupt political motive, but didn’t say anything at the time.

Additionally Byrne’s assistance was requested for an investigation of a high-level government official, he later named as Hillary Clinton.

[Sidebar: It’s noteworthy that during these FBI engagements Byrne was never requested to facilitate Ms. Butina into the Bernie Sanders campaign.  The inference in that omission is the Dem primary was rigged, and the riggers saw no value wasting time on Bernie]

In/around Feb or March 2016 Byrne was told to focus Ms. Butina’s attention to the campaign of Donald Trump and to diminish any attention toward Rubio or Cruz.

The assistance of the investigation of the federal official (Hillary Clinton) ended in late June and early July of 2016.  Immediately thereafter Ms. Clinton was publicly -and unusually- cleared by FBI Director James Comey on July 5th, 2016.

In/around this same June & July time-frame (2016), FBI agents requested Mr. Byrne to focus on developing a closer romantic relationship with Ms. Butina and to use his influence to target her to closer proximity with the Trump family and Trump campaign.

It was within these June and July 2016 engagements where FBI agents were apologetic about the requests and specifically mentioned their instructions were coming from three principle FBI officials Byrne described as “X, Y and Z”.   Later Byrne identified FBI Director James Comey as “Z”.

In the Fox MacCallum interview Byrne named James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, John Carlin (DOJ-NSD) and Peter Strzok.   Mr. Byrne said the specific instructions were coming to the agents from Special Agent Peter Strzok as he relayed the requests of those above him [X, Y and Z (Comey)].

This FBI contact structure highlights an arms-length operation; perhaps intentionally constructed to create plausible deniability for those above the directly instructing agents.

In essence, these rank-and-file FBI agents were asking Patrick Byrne to be a civilian handler of a Russian national, and instructing him to carry out a covert counterintelligence operation.  The FBI agents were apologetic about asking a civilian to take on such a role.

Maria Butina (Credit: Anton Novoderezhkin/ Zuma Press)

♦ Ms. Maria Butina is described as a young Russian idealist, who had strong connections to high powered Russian oligarchs.

The purpose of Butina coming to the U.S., as explained by Byrne, was for her to engage with influential Americans for contacts that could provide geopolitical value to the oligarchs.

Patrick Byrne was seen as important to Ms. Butina due to his connections to the emerging financial structures of crypto-currency and block-chain.  Byrne is a libertarian who believes in small government, and is somewhat of a disruptor in the business world. Ms. Butina wanted to introduce Byrne to her friends in Russia.

While it was not outlined in any of the four interviews, alternative currency options to the U.S. dollar have been an ongoing effort of Russian interests for a while.  Russia considers global trade attached to the dollar as geopolitical problem; and they have been working for years on alternative currencies for trade (and their own wealth) that can avoid U.S. sanctions and the reach of the U.S. treasury.

♦ As a Russian national with specific Russian interests that are not in alignment with U.S. national interests, Maria Butina would be defined by the U.S. intelligence community as an ‘agent of a foreign power’.   Her status would mean unrestricted monitoring by the U.S. intelligence community would be entirely legal.

However, because of this ‘foreign agent’ status Ms. Butina could also be valuable as a virus to infect anyone the U.S. intelligence apparatus would wish to target domestically.  This motive appears to be the reason for the FBI to tell Mr. Byrne where to send Ms. Butina.

Conducting FISA-702(16)(17) database searches and surveillance on U.S. persons who would meet with Butina would be justifiable and legal.

Extended contact with any U.S. person could likely lead to a Title-1 surveillance warrant through the FISA court.  However, even without the warrant, 702 searches would be valid just from brief contact.

As we have shown FISA-702(“16” to-from) and (“17” about) queries were off the charts during the time-frame of November 2015 through May 2016.  Per the FISA audit conducted by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, after the flags noted by the database compliance officer, 85% of the search returns were unauthorized and unmasked.

The time-frames here are too coincidental to be accidental. [Judge Collyer Report]

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/22/2019)

Update: On August 23, 2019, CNN  includes James Comey and Andrew McCabe’s response to Mr. Byrne’s claims:

Byrne’s story, as told to CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time,” and in earlier interviews broadcast on Fox Business News and Fox News, also includes allegations that top officials in the Obama administration, including James Comey, the former FBI director, approved of the bureau’s requests of him.

It has not been verified by the agencies, and spokespeople for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment. Reached Thursday evening by CNN, Comey called Byrne’s claim “ridiculous.”

“The FBI doesn’t work that way,” Comey said.

Former FBI deputy director and CNN contributor Andrew McCabe said he hadn’t heard of Byrne until the former CEO revealed his relationship with Butina.

“His allegation that his potential cooperation with the FBI was somehow discussed at the highest levels certainly never happened when I was there,” McCabe, who held the No. 2 role at the agency beginning in 2016 until his firing in 2018, said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”

McCabe said it was “certainly possible” that Byrne volunteered information about Butina to the FBI, but disputed the claim that agents would have told Byrne to “engage in a romantic relationship with a suspected Russian intelligence agent.”

“That is simply not the sort of thing that the FBI does,” McCabe said.”

(Read more: CNN, 8/23/2019)

August 14, 2019 – A Grassley/Graham/Johnson memo suggests the FBI failed to seek access to certain highly classified information potentially relevant to the Clinton email investigation

From left to right, Senators Lindsey Graham, Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson (Credit: public domain)

(…) “Thanks to the relentless investigative work of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), we are learning that the Hillary Clinton email case may not really be settled.

A staff memo updating the two senators’ long-running probe discloses that the FBI — the version run in 2016 by the now-disgraced and fired James ComeyAndrew McCabe and Peter Strzok — failed to pursue access to “highly classified” evidence that could have resolved important questions.

The failure to look at the evidence back in 2016 occurred even though the agents believed access to the sensitive evidence was “necessary” to complete the investigation into Clinton’s improper transmission of classified emails — some top-secret — on her unsecure private email server, the memos show.

To make matters worse, the Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) has known about that decision since at least 2018, thanks to the work of the DOJ’s internal watchdog, Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, who provided DOJ leaders and Congress with a classified appendix explaining what happened.

But Johnson and Grassley have been unable to get answers for a year, even from Attorney General William Barr, about whether the FBI intends to look at the critical evidence it skipped back in 2016.

The Senate staff memo succinctly lays out just how egregious the FBI’s decision was in 2016.

The inspector general’s “appendix raised a number of serious questions because, as explained on page 154 of the unclassified DOJ IG report, the FBI decided not to seek access to certain highly classified information potentially relevant to the investigation despite members of the FBI case team referring to the review as a ‘necessary’ part of the investigation,” the Senate staff wrote.

“As a result of the findings in that appendix, Senator Grassley wrote a classified letter to DOJ on October 17, 2018, which remains unanswered. On January 15, 2019, at Mr. Barr’s nomination hearing, Senator Grassley asked Mr. Barr if he would answer the letter, if confirmed, to which he attested, ‘Yes, Senator.’ On April 16, 2019, Senators Grassley, Johnson, and Graham sent a letter to Attorney General Barr reiterating the need for a written response to that letter.”

The DOJ’s silence on the road that the FBI willfully chose not to take is all the more deafening given what we already know about the Clinton email case.” (Read more: The Hill, 8/22/2019)

July 28, 2019 – Rep. John Ratcliffe says it is clear crimes were committed by government officials in the Obama administration

“With the Justice Department conducting a review of that operation, Rep. John Ratcliffe said during a Fox News interview Sunday that he trusts Attorney General William Barr and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to provide answers.

And while Ratcliffe said he does not want to prematurely accuse any specific person of a crime — as Democrats have done with President Trump — he stressed that it is clear crimes were committed by people during the Obama administration, including government officials.

“I think the first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t do what the Democrats have done,” the Texas Republican told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures. “They accused Donald Trump of a crime and then they try and reverse engineer a process to justify that accusation. So I’m not going to accuse any specific person of any specific crime, I just want there to be a fair process to get there. What I do know as a former federal prosecutor is that it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration.”

(…) Ratcliffe recommended three leads for the “investigation of the investigators.”

The first related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “You talked earlier about Michael Flynn. His phone call with the Russian ambassador was a highly classified NSA intercept. Someone in the Obama administration leaked that call to the Washington Post. That’s a felony,” he said.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed in February 2018 that the Justice Department was investigating that leak, and that he was overseeing the inquiry himself. “I am directing it personally and we’re pursuing it aggressively,” Sessions said at the time.

Ratcliffe suggested investigators also look into conflicting congressional testimony between Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Fusion GPS was the opposition research firm behind British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, which was full of unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia and was used extensively by the FBI in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify surveillance of Page. Ohr acted as an unofficial back channel between Steel and the FBI. “Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS in talking about the Steele dossier, said under oath that he and Bruce Ohr did not meet until after the election. Bruce Ohr said under oath that they met three months before the election. One of them is not telling the truth. We need a process to identify that,” Ratcliffe said.

The third area of interest, Ratcliffe said, is former FBI Director James Comey’s memos on his interactions with Trump before he was fired in May 2017. “Where it all started, Jim Comey. He admitted that he leaked his confidential conversations with the president to a reporter. Did that include classified information? We need a fair processes to find out answers to that,” Ratcliffe said.” (Read more:  Washington Examiner, 7/28/2019)

July 25, 2019 – WSJ Editorial: What Mueller Was Trying to Hide

By Kimberly Strassel

A CSpan subtitle refers to the Mueller hearing on July 24, 2019, as an Obstruction of Justice Investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. (Credit: CSpan3)

(…) “The most notable aspect of the Mueller report was always what it omitted: the origins of this mess. Christopher Steele’s dossier was central to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe, the basis of many of the claims of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Yet the Mueller authors studiously wrote around the dossier, mentioning it only in perfunctory terms. The report ignored Mr. Steele’s paymaster, Fusion GPS, and its own ties to Russians. It also ignored Fusion’s paymaster, the Clinton campaign, and the ugly politics behind the dossier hit job.

Mr. Mueller’s testimony this week put to rest any doubt that this sheltering was deliberate. In his opening statement he declared that he would not “address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called Steele Dossier.” The purpose of those omissions was obvious, as those two areas go to the heart of why the nation has been forced to endure years of collusion fantasy.

Mr. Mueller claimed he couldn’t answer questions about the dossier because it “predated” his tenure and is the subject of a Justice Department investigation. These excuses are disingenuous. Nearly everything Mr. Mueller investigated predated his tenure, and there’s no reason the Justice Department probe bars Mr. Mueller from providing a straightforward, factual account of his team’s handling of the dossier.

If anything, Mr. Mueller had an obligation to answer those questions, since they go to the central failing of his own probe. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Mr. Mueller, how could a special-counsel investigation into “Russia’s interference” have any credibility if it failed to look into whether the Steele dossier was itself disinformation from Moscow? Mr. Steele acknowledges that senior Russian officials were the source of his dossier’s claims of an “extensive conspiracy.” Given that no such conspiracy actually existed, Mr. Gaetz asked: “Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele, or did he just make it up and was he lying to the FBI?”

Mr. Mueller surreally responded: “As I said earlier, with regard to Steele, that is beyond my purview.”

So it went throughout the whole long day. Republicans asked basic questions about the report’s conclusions or analysis, and Mr. Mueller dodged and weaved and refused to avoid answering questions about the FBI’s legwork, the dossier’s role and Fusion’s involvement. Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot asked how the report could have neglected to mention Fusion’s ties to a Russian company and lawyer. Mr. Mueller: “Outside my purview.” California Rep. Devin Nunes asked several questions about one of the men at the epicenter of the “collusion” conspiracy—academic Joseph Mifsud, whom former FBI Director Jim Comey has tried to paint as a Russian agent. Mr. Mueller: “I am not going to speak to the series of happenings as you articulated them.”

Then again, how could he? The Mueller team, rather than question the FBI’s actions, went out of its way to build on them. That’s how we ended up with tortured plea agreements for process crimes from figures like former Trump aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. They were peripheral figures in an overhyped drama, who nonetheless had to be scalped to legitimize the early actions of Mr. Comey & Co. Mr. Mueller inherited the taint, and his own efforts were further tarnished. That accounts for Mr. Mueller’s stonewalling.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 7/25/2019)

July 23, 2019 – James Comey is under DOJ Investigation for misleading Trump while targeting him In FBI probe

“Former FBI Director James Comey has been under investigation for misleading President Trump – telling him in private that he wasn’t the target of an ongoing FBI probe, while refusing to admit to this in public.

According to RealClearInvestigations‘ Paul Sperry, “Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will file a report in September which contains evidence that “Comey was misleading the president” while conducting an active investigation against him.

Even as he repeatedly assured Trump that he was not a target, the former director was secretly trying to build a conspiracy case against the president, while at times acting as an investigative agent.RCI

According to two US officials familiar with Horowitz’s upcoming report on FBI misconduct, Comey was essentially “running a covert operation” against Trump – which began with a private “defensive briefing” shortly after the inauguration. RCI‘s sources say that Horowitz has poured over text messages between the FBI’s former top-brass and other communications suggesting that Comey was in fact conducting a “counterintelligence assessment” of the president during their January 2017 meeting in New York.

(…) Sperry notes that Comey wasn’t working in isolation on the Trump effort. In particular, Horowitz has looked at the January 6, 2017 briefing on the infamous ‘Steele Dossier’ – a meeting which was used by BuzzFeed, CNN and others to legitimize reporting on the dossier’s salacious and unsubstantiated claims.

Comey’s meeting with Trump took place one day after the FBI director met in the Oval Office with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss how to brief Trump — a meeting attended by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who would soon go to work for CNN. -RCI

While Comey claims in his book, “A Higher Loyalty” that he didn’t have “a counterintelligence case file open on [Trump],” former federal prosecutor and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy notes that just because Trump’s name wasn’t on a formal file or surveillance warrant doesn’t mean that he wasn’t under investigation.

“They were hoping to surveil him incidentally, and they were trying to make a case on him,” said McCarthy. “The real reason Comey did not want to repeat publicly the assurances he made to Trump privately is that these assurances were misleading. The FBI strung Trump along, telling him he was not a suspect while structuring the investigation in accordance with the reality that Trump was the main subject.”

What’s more, the FBI couldn’t treat Trump as a suspect – formally, as they didn’t have the legal grounds to do so according to former FBI counterintelligence lawyer Mark Wauck. “They had no probable cause against Trump himself for ‘collusion’ or espionage,” he said, adding “They were scrambling to come up with anything to hang a hat on, but had found nothing.”

What remains unclear is why Comey would take such extraordinary steps against a sitting president. The Mueller report concluded there was no basis for the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. Comey himself was an early skeptic of the Steele dossier — the opposition research memos paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that were the road map of collusion theories – which he dismissed as “salacious and unverified.” -RCI

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 7/23/2019)