Former FBI Director James Comey Is Testifying Before Senate Intelligence Committee

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

James Comey testifies: Former FBI director says he helped reveal details of conversations with Trump

June 8 at 12:09 PM
Former FBI director James B. Comey said Thursday he helped reveal details of his private conversations with President Trump because he thought doing so would spur the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the administration — a remarkable admission showing the degree of concern he had about both Russian interference with U.S. politics, and his doubts about the Justice Department’s ability to probe such activity.Testifying at the Senate intelligence committee, Comey described how details of his private memos about his one-on-one conversations came to light shortly after his dismissal.

“The president tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I’d better hope there are not tapes,” Comey said. He said he woke up on Monday thinking that if there are tapes, there might be corroboration of Comey’s account. Comey said he asked “a friend of mine to share” a memo he had written about his conversation with Trump “with a reporter.”

Comey said the memo was one he had written about his Oval Office conversation with Trump in which the president had expressed a desire that the Flynn probe be dropped.

‘Those were lies. Plain and simple.’: Comey knocks Trump administration in opening statement
At the June 8 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, former FBI director James B. Comey said the Trump Administration “chose to defame” him and the FBI after he was fired.

He said the person he asked to share the information was “a good friend of mine who’s a professor at Columbia Law School. “I thought it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Asked by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) why he felt he had the authority to do that, Comey replied, “as a private citizen, I felt free to share that. I thought it was very important to get it out.”

Comey said he used someone else to share the information because he was worried, with reporters camped out at his home, that giving the information to a reporter directly “would be like feeding seagulls at the beach.’’

The friend is Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor. He confirmed his role but declined further comment. The reporter is Michael Schmidt of the New York Times.

A special counsel was appointed — Robert S. Mueller III, who is a former colleague of Comey — and Comey has provided him with his memos, he testified Thursday.

Comey also blasted the Trump administration for bad-mouthing the bureau and his leadership to justify his firing, saying “those were lies, plain and simple’’—a stark challenge to the president’s rationale for his ouster.

A former federal prosecutor, Comey said he took detailed notes of his private talks with the president, a practice that was a departure from his practice with Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama. Comey said he did so because he wanted to make a clear record of what was said.

He said he took copious notes because he was “honestly concerned’’ that the president might lie about what had been said in their meeting. He kept doing so for future conversations, and the two spoke in private a total of nine times before Comey was fired, he said.

Comey sat grim-faced at a witness table before the Senate Intelligence Committee shortly after 10 a.m. as the committee chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), began the hearing by calling for a “very open and candid discussion’’ about the “strained relationship’’ between the president and Comey. Comey’s written account of those discussions, made public on Wednesday, have fueled the debate over whether the president may have attempted to obstruct justice by pressuring the FBI director about a sensitive investigation.

“This is not a witch hunt, this is not fake news,’’ said the senior Democrat on the panel, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.). “This is an effort to protect our country from a new threat that quite frankly will not go away anytime soon.’’

Comey began his testimony by saying he became “confused and increasingly concerned’’ about the public explanations by White House officials for his firing on May 9, particularly after the president said he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he decided to fire him.

He wasted little time repudiating White House statements that he was fired in part because of low morale among FBI employees, and those employees’ supposedly soured attitude toward his leadership.

“The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led,’’ Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple. And I’m so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them, and I’m so sorry the American people were told them.’’

The former director also said that Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch asked him last year to refer to the Clinton email probe as a “matter,” rather than an “investigation.”

Comey said he was concerned by Lynch’s direction to refer to it as a “matter” because the wording too closely tracked how the Clinton campaign was trying to describe the FBI investigation.

The former FBI director said he thought the wording used by Lynch “looked silly’’ but decided it was “not a hill worth dying on.’’

But, he acknowledged, “it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way the campaign” was referring to it. “That was inaccurate,” he said. “That gave me a queasy feeling.”

Comey wrote in his testimony that Trump told him that “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” in a private White House dinner conversation in January.

“I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey wrote. “We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.”

Comey said the conversation, in which Trump raised the question of whether Comey intended to stay as FBI Director, despite their three prior discussions about him doing so, raised concerns in his mind.

“My common sense told me what’s going on here is he’s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job,’’ Comey testified.

In testimony broadcast live on national television networks, Comey described his state of mind as he tried to navigate a series of awkward conversations with the president about the investigation into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian operatives.

The former FBI director made clear he felt the discussions were problematic and improper, in that Trump repeatedly pressing him about specific investigations that involved people close to the president.

After his January dinner when the two discussed loyalty, Comey and the president had another discussion in February at the White House. A number of senior officials met in the Oval Office on Feb. 14 to discuss terrorism. At the end of the meeting, according to Comey, the president asked everyone to leave but Comey.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions lingered behind until the president told him, too, to leave, Comey said.

“My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn’t be leaving which is why he was lingering,’’ said Comey. “I knew something was about to happen which I should pay very close attention to.’’

Once they were alone, the president told Comey he hoped he could let go of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had been forced out of that job a day earlier.

“When it comes from the president, I took it as a direction,’’ said Comey. He said he was shocked and concerned about the president’s request, but decided not to tell Sessions about it because he expected Sessions would soon recuse himself from the Russia probe, which he did days later.

Comey did later complain to Sessions that he should not again be left alone with the president

His account made clear that his relationship with Trump was fraught from their very first meeting, which occurred before the inauguration, when he the president-elect that a dossier of unsubstantiated allegations against Trump had been circulating around Washington.

“I didn’t want him thinking that I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way,’’ said Comey. “He needed to know this was being said, but I was very keen to not leave him with the impression that the bureau was trying to do something to him.’’

Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly tried to learn more about any conversations between Trump and officials in which the president tries to gain help pushing back against the FBI’s Russia investigation. On Wednesday, two of the country’s top intelligence officials went before the Senate Intelligence Committee and refused to discuss the specifics of conversations with the president, frustrating several lawmakers. Based on the testimony already released, Comey will have no such hesitation on Thursday.

Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report

(THIS COURTESY OF CNN)

US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.
Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.
The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections.
US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.
It’s not yet clear whether the US has tracked the hackers in the Qatar incident to Russian criminal organizations or to the Russian security services blamed for the US election hacks. One official noted that based on past intelligence, “not much happens in that country without the blessing of the government.”
The FBI and CIA declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Qatari embassy in Washington said the investigation is ongoing and its results would be released publicly soon.
The Qatari government has said a May 23 news report on its Qatar News Agency attributed false remarks to the nation’s ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel and questioned whether President Donald Trump would last in office.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN the FBI has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news.
“Whatever has been thrown as an accusation is all based on misinformation and we think that the entire crisis being based on misinformation,” the foreign minister told CNN’s Becky Anderson. “Because it was started based on fabricated news, being wedged and being inserted in our national news agency which was hacked and proved by the FBI.”
Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al-Thani, director of the Qatari Government Communications Office, confirmed that Qatar’s Ministry of Interior is working with the FBI and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency on the ongoing hacking investigation of the Qatar News Agency.
“The Ministry of Interior will reveal the findings of the investigation when completed,” he told CNN.
Partly in reaction to the false news report, Qatar’s neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have cut off economic and political ties, causing a broader crisis.
The report came at a time of escalating tension over accusations Qatar was financing terrorism.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted criticism of Qatar that mirrors that of the Saudis and others in the region who have long objected to Qatar’s foreign policy. He did not address the false news report.
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”
In his tweet, Trump voiced support for the regional blockade of Qatar and cited Qatar’s funding of terrorist groups. The Qataris have rejected the terror-funding accusations.
Hours after Trump’s tweets, the US State Department said Qatar had made progress on stemming the funding of terrorists but that there was more work to be done.
US and European authorities have complained for years about funding for extremists from Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Gulf region. Fifteen of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.
Last year during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Obama administration officials raised the issue of Saudi funding to build mosques in Europe and Africa that are helping to spread an ultra-conservative strain of Islam.
US intelligence has long been concerned with what they say is the Russian government’s ability to plant fake news in otherwise credible streams, according to US officials.
That concern has surfaced in recent months in congressional briefings by former FBI Director James Comey.
Comey told lawmakers that one reason he decided to bypass his Justice Department bosses in announcing no charges in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s private email server was the concern about an apparent fake piece of Russian intelligence. The intelligence suggested the Russians had an email that indicated former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had assured Democrats she wouldn’t let the Clinton probe lead to charges.
The FBI came to believe the email was fake, but still feared the Russians could release it to undermine the Justice Department’s role in the probe.

FBI Investigators Are So Much Better Than Those At The State Department; Really?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

In this July 7, 2016, file photo, FBI Director James B. Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight Committee to explain his agency's recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton. In a letter from Comey released on Nov. 6, he tells Congress review of additional Clinton emails does not change conclusion she should not face charges. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this July 7, 2016, file photo, FBI Director James B. Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight Committee to explain his agency’s recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton. In a letter from Comey released on … more >
– The Washington Times – Monday, November 7, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Last year, the State Department said it would need about one year to comb through and release Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, or the 55,000 work-related pages she handed over in March 2015. Yet, we’re to believe the FBI can evaluate roughly 650,000 emails in just eight days.

Either the FBI is incredibly efficient or — more likely — partisan politics has corrupted two departments in our executive branch.

In May 2015, the State Department said it would need until January 2016 to release all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, which were stored on her private email server while she served as secretary of state. They proposed a date of Jan. 15, 2016, to go over all of the classifications, but were shot down by a U.S. District Court judge which suggested a rolling release.

The State Department did its best to slow-roll the process. When Jan. 15, 2016, came around, it asked for a one-month extension to release the emails because of “inclement weather.” The delay would ensure the releases were after the presidential primary.

An FBI probe into how the State Department dealt with Mrs. Clinton’s email review revealed how it had a “shadow government” working within State, specifically tasked with handling — and perhaps obstructing — the release of Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

“There was a powerful group of very high-ranking STATE officials that some referred to as ‘The 7th Floor Group’ or ‘The Shadow Government.’” the FBI’s interview summary said. “This group met every Wednesday afternoon to discuss the FOIA process, Congressional records, and everything CLINTON related to FOIA/Congressional inquiries.”

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In February, a federal judge expressed dismay with State and determined that the delays in releasing the remaining of Mrs. Clinton’s emails were unreasonable. On Feb. 29, all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails were released — almost a year after they were received.

But that doesn’t count emails from Mrs. Clinton’s aides, which were also requested. The State Department said it would take 75 years to go through those roughly 450,000 emails. Seventy-five years!

“Given the Department’s current FOIA workload and the complexity of these documents, it can process about 500 pages a month, meaning it would take approximately 16-and-⅔ years to complete the review of the [Cheryl] Mills documents, 33-and-⅓ years to finish the review of the [Jake] Sullivan documents, and 25 years to wrap up the review of the [Patrick] Kennedy documents — or 75 years in total,” the State Department argued in a filing this June.

Yet the FBI can get through 650,000 emails in eight days.

They can’t. It, too, is all political — and corrupt.

Eleven days before the election, FBI Director James Comey came under intense political fire after he decided to send a letter to Congress to inform them his agency was reopening Mrs. Clinton’s email case in light of new information.

The bombshell sent shock waves throughout the presidential campaign, and sent Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers crashing.

A McClatchy-Marist Poll released Nov. 4 found a majority of voters believed Mrs. Clinton did something illegal, with 83 percent believing she did something wrong. Thirty-two percent said she did something unethical but not illegal and just 14 percent believed she’d done nothing wrong.

Mr. Comey was blasted by Mrs. Clinton’s team — and multiple members of the mainstream media — for trying to sway the presidential election. There were reports that FBI agents forced his hand, threatening open rebellion if he didn’t do it.

President Obama said in multiple interviews although Mr. Comey is a “good man,” he may have acted improperly in alerting the public he was reopening the case.

“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo, we don’t operate on incomplete information, we don’t operate on leaks,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with Now This News. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

So, Mr. Comey fell.

On Sunday — 48 hours before voters hit the voting booth — he said the FBI had reviewed the emails, and criminal charges wouldn’t be pursued.

There’s no wonder why Americans are skeptical of their federal institutions — they should be. It all needs to be burned down in order to be rebuilt.

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FBI Director Comey Had His Integrity, Then Lost It, Regained It, Now He Lost It Again!

 

I honestly believe it is simply a case of the Director of the FBI whom was appointed by President Obama and the Attorney General Loretta Lynch who owed her job to Bill Clinton first, then to President Obama threatened him (Director Comey) with more than just his job. Director Comey’s two Supervisors that he has to answer to are first the Attorney General and second he has to answer to the sitting President (Mr. Obama) Ms. Lynch who owes the Clinton’s big time whom met illegally on her private plane with former President Clinton on 6-27-16. Then on 7-1-16 she declared that she would fully except the recommendation of the FBI. Then on 7-6-16 she declared the case closed. Basically all of the career FBI Supervisors just below the Director were/are very upset at the Director for ‘playing politics’, they want/wanted Hillary indited. The Director of the FBI, Mr. Comey has been forced to kiss the ring and the asses of his two Superiors, Lynch and President Obama. When the Department of Justice (what a joke the Clinton’s and President Obama have made of that title) and the FBI are made nothing but a political play things, the American people are the losers in every respect. Big business (like the Clinton Foundation) buys the politicians, the people and Our Constitution are defecated upon as they are laughing in our face.

Clinton And Her Campaign Managers Are Only Private Citizens: Who Do They Think They Are Telling The Director Of The FBI What To Do?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Clinton chairman turns up heat on FBI

  • John Podesta appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union”
  • The Clinton campaign boss called the FBI chief’s conduct “inappropriate”

Washington (CNN)John Podesta is turning up the heat on FBI Director James Comey to release more details about the bureau’s review of new emails possibly tied to Hillary Clinton’s private server.

In an interview Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” the Clinton campaign chairman complained the FBI should have investigated enough to know exactly what it was dealing with before announcing the review.
“He might have taken the first step of actually having looked at them before he did this in the middle of a presidential campaign, so close to the voting,” Podesta said.
Comey’s Friday notification to Congress of the review is rocking the final days of the presidential race. Democrats are furious that Comey would revive the explosive issue of Clinton’s email server so close to the election. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is seizing on the review after spending weeks on the defense, hoping it will be a potent issue he can ride until the end of the contest.
“This is something that has been tossed into the middle of the campaign. We would have preferred that not happen, but now that it has happened, we would prefer that Mr. Comey come forward and explain why he took that unprecedented step,” Podesta said.

who’s winning?

CNN poll of polls
Hillary Clinton headshot photo
49%
clinton
Donald Trump headshot photo
44%
trump
Gary Johnson headshot photo
3%
johnson
Jill Stein headshot photo
2%
stein
The campaign chairman called Comey’s handling of the matter “inappropriate.”
Podesta asked if, just days from the election, Comey’s revelation is “something you toss on the table, or do you take the time and do what other prosecutors have done in the past and make sure it’s so significant that you have to go forward with it?”
On Saturday, CNN’s Evan Perez reported that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates disagreed with Comey’s decision to notify Congress about the bureau’s review of emails found on at least device of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the discussion.
But Comey decided to disregard that warning and went ahead and sent the letter to Congress. Comey’s decision to send the letter angered his superiors at the Justice Department, but officials acknowledge there is little they can do given the fallout of the Attorney General’s meeting with Bill Clinton on the Arizona tarmac this past summer.
On Sunday, CNN reported that the Justice Department and Abedin’s lawyers are in talks to permit a full review of the emails.
Podesta also told Tapper that Clinton has learned from her use of a private email server at the State Department.
“I think she obviously would like to take that decision back, but she’s learned from it,” he said.
Podesta defended long-time top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the estranged wife of Anthony Weiner — the disgraced former congressman whose lewd texts with a 15-year-old girl are under FBI investigation, and whose computer contained the emails that Comey is reviewing.
“I think it’s clear that she (Abedin) complied to the best of her abilities, turned everything over that she had in her possession. I don’t know anything more than the speculation that’s running wild in the press now what this is about,” Podesta said.
He said that Abedin, who was not traveling with Clinton yesterday, is still serving in her same role on the campaign.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway continued the campaign’s criticism of Comey for refusing to recommend criminal charges against Clinton in July, pointing to his “unprecedented statement to the world on July 25 where he was leading up to a conclusion that was different from the one that he announced.”
“I guess he was trying to clear his own conscience,” she said of his latest step.
Still, she praised Comey’s decision to announce the FBI is reviewing newly discovered emails possibly tied to Clinton’s server.
“Hillary Clinton flouted the law and set up a private server so she could hide stuff from the public,” Conway said.
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