For James Comey, apparently, the fix was in.
Buried this week in the avalanche of details contained in the former FBI director’s memos about his personal meetings with Donald Trump is one line that indicates Comey and his cronies in the highest echelons of American government were setting up Trump for failure from the beginning.
And it’s Comey’s own words that hold the clue.
In an analysis published Friday by The Federalist, senior editor Molly Hemingway points out that one memo in particular indicates Comey and his circle could well have orchestrated one of the most important media leaks of Trump’s presidency.
In the memo, Comey recounted a Jan. 6, 2017 meeting with Trump in which he warns the then-president-elect that many media outlets were aware of the existence of the so-called “Trump dossier,” with its allegations of corruption and tawdry tales of Trump’s alleged romps with Russian prostitutes.
“I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” he wrote.
Talk about a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Not a week passed before CNN — the very news outlet Comey cautioned about – was using the very meeting Comey attended with the incoming president to blare the scurrilous allegations contained in the dossier even before Trump put his hand on the Bible for the oath of office.
As CNN reported at the time:
“Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.” (Emphasis added.)
OK, allowing Comey the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t pick up the phone and call CNN about his own meeting with Trump (there’s really no reason to give him that benefit, but being charitable never hurts), the memo Comey wrote was dated Jan. 7, 2017.
It was written to Comey’s Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then-FBI General Counsel James Baker, and Comey’s Chief of Staff James Rybicki.
Any one of those men — particularly McCabe, whose penchant for leaking cost him his FBI pension — could well have been the source for CNN’s report.
Hemingway suggests another potential source, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who Comey wrote originally suggested his meeting with Trump. This might come as a shock, but Clapper is now a national security analyst for none other than CNN.
But there were others, too. According to The Daily Caller, officials who knew about the meeting and could have leaked it to CNN are then-CIA Director John Brennan — a known leaker, a vociferous Trump critic and defender of McCabe — and then National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers.
It’s a fine rogues’ gallery of powerful men with a reason to try to torpedo the Trump presidency.
In Hemingway’s telling (and it’s certainly more credible than any accusations against Trump so far), Comey conducted a meeting with the president-elect to warn him that news organizations were searching for a “news peg” on which to publish an account of a notoriously unreliable document, then that meeting itself became the “news hook” that justified it.
As Hemingway wrote:
“Of the many thousands of articles promoting a still-unproven theory of treasonous collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, few were as significant as CNN’s January 10 story ‘Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.’ Extremely well-placed sources told CNN that the Obama administration’s top intelligence appointees had briefed Obama, Biden, and Trump all about a dossier they took incredibly seriously and considered credible. And it sounded really bad, as the headline indicated.”
That could well have been the intent — the Deep State in action.
And Americans are wondering why Trump was in a rage about Comey?
Even worse, at the time of that meeting in January, Comey had used the same error-ridden, utterly unreliable “Trump dossier” to apply for a warrant from the secrecy-shrouded Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to place an associate of the Trump campaign under FBI surveillance.
In short, Comey had used a dossier he knew was garbage to obtain a surveillance warrant against an associate of the president-elect. He had a meeting with the president to warn him that the news media needed a pretense to publish the dossier’s contents.
Then that meeting itself became the very pretense Comey was warning about, thanks to leakers who remain unidentified publicly, but who can be guessed with fair amount accuracy.
President Trump was in those meetings with Comey, of course. He can watch a news report and guess where the sources are coming from too. And he doesn’t like to be played for a fool.
Comey might have thought the fix was in, but he apparently didn’t know who he was really dealing with.
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