I was under the impression we were done with James Comey, much to the chagrin of Comey himself.
The former FBI director never wants us to forget he was once fired by Donald Trump and this was a Really Terrible Thing™.
Most recently, he was seen in an Op-Ed talking about the four stages of being attacked by Trump as if they were the five stages of grief.
This didn’t make much of an impact, being treated with the same general derision as Comey’s strange tweets with photos of him out in nature combined with cryptic captions.
If he was trying to stay in our collective memory bank, that wasn’t exactly the way to do it.
However, there’s a new development which might bring Comey headlines yet again. Shame he probably won’t like it.
According to a report in Thursday’s New York Times, the former FBI director is yet again under investigation for allegedly leaking classified information, this time by the United States attorney’s office in Washington. The Washington Post also confirmed The Times’ reporting.
The new investigation involves the strange case of a “highly classified” document obtained by Dutch hackers off of Russian computers which influenced how the Hillary Clinton server investigation was handled.
The tale found its way into two stories in the spring of 2017 — and that’s what investigators are taking a closer look at.
Comey has previously been investigated for letting the classified cat out of the bag when he leaked a memo regarding his conversations with Trump through a friend. That investigation ended with zero charges, obviously.
This time, however, investigators are focusing on how a purported 2016 email between Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida — then the chair of the Democratic National Committee — and an official in George Soros’ Open Society Foundations ended up worming its way into articles by both The Times and The Post.
The email was first discovered by hackers affiliated with Dutch intelligence who discovered the document, in which Wasserman Schultz assured Leonard Bernardo that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch wouldn’t charge Hillary Clinton in the case.
Given that the email was found on a Russian computer, it was highly suspect and was potentially a form of Russian disinformation.
Wasserman Schultz and Bernardo have denied ever contacting one another, further throwing doubt upon the veracity of the document.
Whatever the case, its existence was considered “highly classified,” according to The Times, especially considering the fact that it led Comey to announce he wouldn’t recommend that Clinton face charges in order to take the potential appearance of malfeasance off of Lynch.
We know this because of the aforementioned articles in The Times and The Post, both from the spring of 2017.
Both of the articles explored the influence of the unreliable email and how it caused Comey to make the decisions he did.
Neither, it must be noted, is particularly complimentary to Comey, arguing in various ways that the decision put into motion a series of events that ended up getting Trump elected.
However, in both cases, the take was the same: Both the email and the problematic tarmac meeting between Lynch and former President Bill Clinton in the final days of the investigation “led FBI leadership to want to show it had reached the decision” not to prosecute Hillary Clinton “independently, without political interference from the Justice Department,” as The Post wrote.
According to The Times, the Department of Justice is now looking at whether Comey or Daniel Richman — Comey’s friend who helped leak the memo of the former FBI director’s conversations with Trump — leaked the information regarding the email to The Times or The Post.
Sources told The Times that the email’s “existence and the collection of it were highly classified secrets,” meaning the leaking of it could be legally troublesome for Comey.
Of course, this being The Times, there was significant doubt over whether the investigation should even be conducted, with plenty of digital column inches dedicated to how rare it is to prosecute leak cases in the first place, particularly older leak cases.
“Typically, prosecutors would decline to open investigations into older leaks of classified information because the passage of time makes such cases much harder to pursue as the memories of witnesses fade. Also, the initial leaks can generate more leaks as more officials feel comfortable discussing the information with journalists because it has become public,” the article read.
“Multiple news stories about the classified disclosures also make it harder to determine whether one person was speaking to reporters or several people, according to former law enforcement officials. And the larger the universe of government officials who have been briefed on classified information, the more difficult it is to find the leaker, former officials said. In this case, lawmakers were briefed on the Russian document in addition to executive branch officials.
“In inquiries where investigators determine that a leak is coming from members of Congress or their staff, political sensitivities make those cases difficult to investigate. Most of the time, former officials said, such inquiries are dead on arrival.”
This, of course, led to questions about whether the investigation “was motivated at least in part by politics.” Also, the prosecutor investigating this turns out to have — gasp! — ambitions!
“Federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia have embraced politically fraught cases under the United States attorney, Jessie K. Liu, an ambitious prosecutor who has angled for bigger jobs in the Trump administration,” the article read.
Yeah, because federal prosecutor is usually a role for slackers who just want to coast in government sinecures for the remainder of their careers.
Oh, also, if you don’t like certain members of the moneyed liberal firmament, you may be on the dangerous political fringe.
According to the article, the Open Society Foundations is “a democracy-promoting organization whose founder, George Soros, has long been a target of the far right.”
Soros himself couldn’t keep a straight face writing that one.
Can’t wait to see The Times’ article where the Kochs are described as “a democracy-promoting family whose scions have long been a target of the far left.”
All that slant aside, this is yet another ding on Comey’s reputation if it turns out he was the leaker on these stories.
Much of the hagiographical material about Comey regards him as a selfless federal Boy Scout who didn’t engage in politics or self-aggrandizement.
All right, then — so why the leaking?
Why were those leaks necessary?
Quite simply, they weren’t.
We’ll see what his level of responsibility is for this one, but what the memo leak proved is that James Comey is, first and foremost, in the business of James Comey.
This is why he’s tried so desperately to stay in the spotlight long after his firing.
For the most part, he’s failed.
This time, he might succeed — through no effort of his own, mind you, and for reasons he won’t be happy about.
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