FBI Mislead DOJ in Trump-Russia Investigation
More evidence has come out in the Durham investigation, revealing more lies. We need the truth to be exposed so this can never happen again.
From The Federalist. Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann is currently on trial for lying to the FBI about his role in pushing data pertaining to alleged communications between Trump and the Russian Alfa Bank. According to Special Counsel John Durham, Sussmann lied when he brought that data to the FBI’s General Counsel James Baker as part of the Clinton campaign’s efforts to trigger an FBI investigation of her opponent, Donald Trump. Specifically, Sussmann allegedly wrote Baker a text message claiming he was not representing anyone in providing the information when, in fact, he was representing the Clinton campaign.
In a surprising move, Sussmann’s defense team last week disclosed three sets of handwritten Department of Justice (DOJ) notes of a March 6, 2017 meeting between high-ranking DOJ and FBI officials. Durham gave the notes written by DOJ officials Tashina Gauhar, Mary McCord, and Scott Schools to Sussmann’s team as part of Durham’s discovery obligations.
While the notes contain a one-line hearsay suggestion that may cast doubt on Sussmann’s earlier claim that he was not representing anyone, their broader significance lies in what they reveal about the FBI’s strategy in the months leading up to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017.
In fact, the notes are the very first documents to have been released to the public that show what the FBI was telling the DOJ about the predication and status of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation only two weeks before FBI Director James Comey’s shock announcement to the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, 2017, that the Trump campaign was being investigated by the FBI for ties to the Kremlin. It was Comey’s announcement that ultimately led to the appointment of Mueller.
The DOJ had a legal responsibility to supervise the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which, as a “sensitive matter,” placed special oversight and due diligence obligations on the DOJ and additional reporting and due diligence obligations on the FBI. The March 6 meeting was a key milestone in those due diligence obligations.
The FBI was represented at the meeting by three of its top officials: Deputy Director Andy McCabe, Counterintelligence Executive Assistant Director Bill Priestap, and Counterintelligence Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok. The DOJ was also represented by top-level officials, led by Acting Attorney General Dana Boente. Boente was taking the place of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself only four days previously.
The notes reveal a pattern of repeated lies and omissions by FBI leadership to DOJ officials that concealed the dramatic deterioration of the predicate for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. As the predication deteriorated, so too was the purported justification for Comey’s public reveal of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
The significance of the FBI’s lies was accentuated this week at Sussmann’s trial when Scott Hellman, an FBI cyber analyst, testified that he knew right away in September 2016 that Sussmann’s data did not suggest any covert communications between Trump and Russia. Hellman added that he wondered if the person who put together the data was suffering from a mental disability.
Hellman’s testimony is the clearest evidence yet that the FBI knew from the start that one of the two major components of the Trump Russia collusion narrative – the Alfa Bank data – was false. As the March 6 notes show, they concealed this fact from their DOJ superiors….
The March 6 notes also reveal that FBI leadership told DOJ officials that the Page FISA application had been “fruitful” even though it had turned up nothing of significance. Page was never charged with, or even accused of, any offense and is now suing the DOJ for damages.
FBI leadership also pushed the narrative on their DOJ counterparts that the dossier was “CROWN reporting,” implying that the dossier was an official United Kingdom intelligence product when it was actually made-up stories and gossip and paid for by the Clinton campaign – a fact the FBI knew from their Danchenko interview….
Ironically, in analyzing why the FBI leadership felt compelled to brazenly lie to their DOJ counterparts, it appears that their hand was forced by Trump himself. Just two days before the FBI-DOJ meeting, on March 4, 2017, Trump tweeted he had found out that President Obama had wiretapped Trump at Trump Tower. Trump’s tweet was in an apparent reference to radio host Mark Levin, who reported on his show on March 2 that Trump campaign aides had been the subject of FISA warrants.
In a number of instances, the March 6 meeting notes reflect the FBI leadership’s befuddlement as to how much Trump knew about the FBI’s investigation of him. McCabe is cited repeatedly as having said that the FBI was investigating what was behind Trump’s tweet.
In reality, Trump’s tweet probably just restated what Levin had said. But the fact that the FBI did not know how much Trump knew meant FBI leadership had a choice to make. They could either downplay the investigation with a view to wrapping it up or they could double down even though they had not found any incriminating evidence.
They chose to double down, with Comey going on offense in the immediate aftermath of the March 6 meeting. Aside from giving narrative-shaping briefings to congressional leaders, Comey publicly disclosed the existence of the Trump Russia investigation, ensuring a media frenzy. That frenzy ultimately led to the appointment of Mueller on May 17, 2017….
It is perplexing that no one within the FBI has been held accountable for the many lies told at the March 6 meeting….
What do you think of this new evidence? Share your thoughts and prayers below.
(Excerpt from The Federalist. Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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