James Comey’s Loretta Lynch Made Me Give That Press Conference Myth
Unfortunately, a lot pundits insist on giving Comey every benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, they are very slow to give the same benefit of the doubt to Loretta Lynch, much less Bill Clinton.
After Comey’s testimony yesterday, Dana Milbank was very quick to accept Comey’s cover story: he gave that presser because of Bill Clinton’s social visit with Loretta Lynch on an airport in Colorado. Allegedly this gave Comey carte blanche to basically do whatever he wanted.
“So now it can be told: Bill Clinton cost his wife the presidency.”
“Almost three hours into a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey shed new light on his decision to go public about his agency’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails, first in July 2016 and again, with devastating effect, in late October, 11 days before the election.”
“The specific reason he cited: Bill Clinton’s decision to board Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s plane in late June, when their planes were both on a tarmac in Phoenix. “The capper was — and I’m not picking on Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who I like very much — but her meeting with President Clinton on that airplane was the capper for me,” Comey said. Comey decided to “step away” and announce, without consulting the Justice Department, that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be charged.”
It’s a very convenient cover story that has the one drawback that it’s not true. The NY Times had a huge investigative piece a few weeks ago that makes clear that Comey had already made the decision before Tarmacgate.
I wrote about it in great depth but not many people have caught onto this yet. They still believe it was all Tarmacgate.
“Nine months into the investigation, it became clear to Mr. Comey that Mrs. Clinton was almost certainly not going to face charges. He quietly began work on talking points, toying with the notion that in the midst of a bitter presidential campaign, a Justice Department led by Democrats may not have the credibility to close the case, and that he alone should explain that decision to the public.”
Now note this is way before a hello o a airport tarmac. The fact that the DOJ was led by the Democrats was already enough in Comey’s mind to freelance. The rules say that you don’t comment beyond just saying there are no charges. But this rule in Comey’s mind was to be suspended because Democrats ran the DOJ. He’d have to explain to me where in the rules it said this holds unless the Democrats run the DOJ.
So let’s be clear: Comey had made his choice already and was looking for reasons to breach protocol-beyond Democrats running the DOJ.
Notice how in the case of Russiagate he asked permission from the DOJ to confirm the investigation even though a DOJ led by Jeff Sessions-with his perjury over meeting the Russian envoy and need to recuse himself-might have led to at least as much concern as Lynch saying hello to Bill Clinton in a very public place.
Yet Comey evidently is no longer worried about ‘optics’ regarding the DOJ even though it’s the same scenario-the same party running DOJ and being investigated.
But Comey needed a rationale for the presser he’d already decided to do. Where would he get it? Would you believe, from Russian hackers? Not even kidding.
“A document obtained by the F.B.I. reinforced that idea.”
“During Russia’s hacking campaign against the United States, intelligence agencies could peer, at times, into Russian networks and see what had been taken. Early last year, F.B.I. agents received a batch of hacked documents, and one caught their attention”.
“The document, which has been described as both a memo and an email, was written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far, according to several former officials familiar with the document.”
“Read one way, it was standard Washington political chatter. Read another way, it suggested that a political operative might have insight into Ms. Lynch’s thinking.”
“Normally, when the F.B.I. recommends closing a case, the Justice Department agrees and nobody says anything. The consensus in both places was that the typical procedure would not suffice in this instance, but who would be the spokesman?”
“The document complicated that calculation, according to officials. If Ms. Lynch announced that the case was closed, and Russia leaked the document, Mr. Comey believed it would raise doubts about the independence of the investigation.”
So get this: Comey basically responded to Russian active measures. His presser was based not on Loretta Lynch but hacked emails from Russian hackers. Why would these hacked emails be sent to James Comey? To get him to be harder on Clinton and he gave them exactly what he wanted.
Again this is not a conspiracy theory-this wasn’t reported by Louise Mensch, though much of what she writes checks out. This is right from the FBI itself. A presser inspired by Russian hackers.
Yet Milbank and friends continue to miss this and buy Comey’s absurd cover story.
People really need to stop assuming the best about James Comey and his motives.
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.