James Comey: I Wanted to Reveal Russian Tampering but Obama Stopped Me
I find Comey’s latest comments to be rather explosive on a few levels:
“FBI Director James Comey attempted to go public as early as the summer of 2016 with information on Russia’s campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, but Obama administration officials blocked him from doing so, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell Newsweek.”
“Well before the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence accused the Russian government of tampering with the U.S. election in an October 7 statement, Comey pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about the Russian campaign during a meeting in the White House’s situation room in June or July.”
“He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward, what do people think of this?’” says a source with knowledge of the meeting, which included Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson and the national security adviser Susan Rice.
This makes his release of the letter on October 28 even harder to defend. After all, he was sitting on some information about Trump which was in fact much more explosive than there may be some emails in a batch we haven’t looked at yet. As it happened, they allegedly were able to rifle through these emails over the next nine days which begs the question: why not wait until they get through all the emails as it took so little time?
“For supporters of Hillary Clinton, news of the op-ed adds to the frustration over Comey’s public disclosure of details about the investigation into her emails, including at a July press conference, but not about the probe involving Russia and Trump, which began that same month.”
“This raises a lot of questions,” says Jarad Geldner, a senior adviser for the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, which filed a complaint with the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility over Comey’s disclosures about the Clinton investigation. “That raises the question of why Comey or [the Department of Justice] or the White House felt that it was OK to hold that [July] press conference on Hillary Clinton’s emails but not to go public with this.”
“But the source with knowledge of Comey’s request says that the FBI director wanted the Russian interference made public earlier and that it was a sluggish White House that denied Comey and delayed the announcement. “The White House shut it down,” that source says. “They did their usual—nothing.” Both sources spoke to Newsweek on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press.”
Asked about Comey’s push to write an op-ed over the summer, a spokesperson for the FBI said by email, “In general we have not been adding to the director’s comments regarding Russia at the March 20 hearing.” A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. A spokesman for Barack Obama could not immediately be reached.
As the very explosive investigation into Trump was going on at the same time, how do you put out that speculative letter on October 28 which has done so much harm?
But the other question this raises is President Obama himself. I certainly have my sharp disagreements with Ryan Cooper. But he makes some good points here:
“Barack Obama is a masterful politician, one of the best in American history. So it’s rather strange that his most important idea about politics is complete nonsense — one which he refuses to ditch after it has repeatedly blown up in his face.”
“I’m speaking of his belief that partisan divides in America are overstated. He has long deprecated fighting between the parties, and put himself forward as someone who can reverse the long trend toward increasingly vicious partisanship and gridlock. Even after a presidency marked by the most brutal national-level political combat since 1876, he is still promoting the bankrupt idea that compromise and calm discussion can defuse the problems with American politics.”
“Anti-partisanship has been the major theme of Obama’s entire career in national politics, starting with his famous DNC speech in 2004, where he said: “It is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work…There is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America.”
Basically, Mitch McConnell was the repudiation of ‘post partisan Washington.’ But as Cooper chronicles, Obama never totally weaned himself off of the notion that Washington is post partisan. And what these revelations from Comey highlight is that in 2016 he was again the victim of his own illusions-as was Hillary Clinton.
He allegedly prevented Comey from talking about Russia’s interference publicly.
“The other national security officials didn’t like the idea, and White House officials thought the announcement should be a coordinated message backed by multiple agencies, the source says. “An op-ed doesn’t have the same stature, it comes from one person.”
As we see both from Comey’s presser in July and his October 28 clearly it does have the same stature when coming from one person. So basically Obama-and Loretta Lynch, et. al-allowed Comey to give both the July press conference ‘extreme carelessness’ and the October 28 letter but nixed him publicizing what was happening with Russia in real time.
Loretta Lynch on October 28 showed herself to be just like her boss-‘post partisan’ to a fault-when she didn’t simply tell Comey not to release the letter-even though she advised against it.
Compare Obama’s extreme discomfiture with ever appearing partisan with Republicans like Devin Nunes and Paul Ryan who don’t care how bad they look.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will