Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that former FBI Director James Comey relied on a “bad” Russian intel report while conducting the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The intelligence (which was either fake or mistaken) claimed to describe an agreement between the DOJ and the Clinton campaign, and Comey acted on this report by shutting down the probe (for the first time) because former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s alleged actions could blow the investigation’s credibility if they went public. It followed, according to WaPo, that Comey acted on the report without knowing the contents were fake news, and the FBI realized a month later that the intel was “unreliable.” So, it was kind of a “whoops!” … but CNN now reports that Comey actually knew this report was bogus.
Comey’s reasoning was to show that the FBI was acting independently, for he worried that Lynch’s actions would make it look like Clinton was sweet with the DOJ. And so, he publicly slammed Clinton for being “extremely careless” with classified information. CNN says that Comey’s actions may not amount to wrongdoing, but they show how deeply Russia was influencing the U.S. government throughout the election. CNN has more about Comey’s reported motivation, which reveals his fear about the Russians’ maneuvers:
Comey’s actions based on what he knew was Russian disinformation offer a stark example of the way Russian interference impacted the decisions of the highest-level US officials during the 2016 campaign.
Sources close to Comey tell CNN he felt that it didn’t matter if the information was accurate, because his big fear was that if the Russians released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods.
The CNN report also mentions that U.S. officials believe Russia is still trying to spread falsehoods throughout the highest levels of government, which kinda makes one wonder if there are any surprises left from Trump’s recent Oval Office conversation. Still and if this report is true, the fact that Comey did not reveal his reasons for acting on fake Russian intel within classified meetings — while citing this exact document — is somewhat troubling.
Needless to say, Comey later reopened the Clinton email probe and testified to Congress on feeling “mildly nauseous” about possibly helping ensure a Trump victory. A week later, Trump fired him, and Comey associates went on to reveal that Trump tried to pressure him into killing the investigation into Michael Flynn’s Russian ties. Could this mess possibly be more circular?