If you watched James Comey’s first major interview since excerpts from his book began appearing in the press, you’re probably thinking you’ve wasted an hour of your life that you’ll never get back.
There wasn’t a whole lot new to be gleaned from the interview, conducted by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in a manner that suggested not so much softball as it did T-ball. The big headline from the night is that Comey called President Donald Trump “morally unfit to be president” and said there was “certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice” when it came to the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
I’ll leave the decision as to whether or not that’s true to the American people, as Comey seemed to do when he suggested he believed “impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly.
“People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values,” Comey said.
Speaking of values, one would assume that truth is a universal one. By that measure, the assertions Comey made Sunday will certainly be up for judgment over the coming days and months.
One of the former FBI director’s statements on the Trump dossier, however, proves Comey views the truth very loosely when it comes to our 45th president.
The lie in question comes from when Stephanopoulos asked Comey whether or not he knew that the dossier, which the FBI used to get a FISA warrant on Carter Page — a Trump campaign employee who played a minor role on a foreign policy advisory team — was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
“Yes, I … I was told at some point that it was … the effort had originally been financed by a Republican source to develop … material opposition research on Donald Trump,” Comey said.
Did you watch James Comey’s interview?
“Then, after the Republican nominating process ended, the effort was taken up and funded by a Democratic-aligned group trying to get opposition research on Trump.
“I never knew which … who the groups were, but I knew it started with Republicans paying for it and then the Democrats were paying for it.”
While this part was first reported last October, it turned out to mostly be a falsehood. The original opposition research commissioned by Fusion GPS was funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, the owner of the Washington Free Beacon.
Comey repeated the false claim that a Republican (Paul Singer) funded the dossier. That’s been debunked time and again. #ComeyInterview pic.twitter.com/ixOL6JpVNF
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) April 16, 2018
That research was conducted not just on Trump but on all the Republican candidates and was wound down when it became clear Trump would be the nominee. It didn’t include the research that would go into what was known as the “Trump dossier” and was conducted long before the portion of the dossier on Russia was compiled. That portion was used by the FBI to get the warrant on Page.
As Check Your Facts notes, “D.C.-based opposition research firm Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with expertise in Russia, to put together the dossier after Republicans quit paying the firm to compile opposition research on Trump. Steele was hired after a lawyer representing the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign hired the firm to dig up dirt on Trump.”
The difference isn’t academic. Comey, as the director of the FBI when the dossier was used to obtain a search warrant in FISA court, is one of the people on this planet who should be most familiar with not only its contents but its genesis. He ought to be well aware that the opposition research funded by the Washington Free Beacon was wholly separate from the actual dossier.
In fact, at the time, Comey’s FBI was only willing to tell the FISA court that the document was compiled by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who the agency identified as someone it “speculated” was “likely” digging up dirt to discredit Trump’s campaign. No mention was given of the fact the Democrats had commissioned the dossier and were paying for it, nor that Steele (who had, as the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy points out, “expressed contempt for Trump and a commitment to prevent his election”) was the one collecting the information.
Comey, as director of the FBI, admitted he knew at some point the Democrats were funding the research. That throws the FISA warrant application into question. The idea that he didn’t know that the dossier wasn’t associated with Singer or the Republicans, as he seemed to indicate in the interview with Stephanopoulos, is prima facie absurd.
Comey had to know, as one of the highest-ranking officials at the Department of Justice, that the warrant on Page would be one of the most highly-scrutinized warrant applications in the history of this republic.
Do you honestly believe Comey’s FBI went into it not knowing who was paying for the research in the Trump dossier in general and the Russian research in particular?
Given that his fate is inextricably intertwined with this warrant, do you think he may have Googled developments regarding it on his iPhone sometime in the interim between his firing and his interview with Stephanopoulos, particularly given that he just wrote a book on the matter?
Of course not. Comey may have been fired by Trump, but not for being a bumbling dunce. Facts that are available to writers at Conservative Tribune were not necessarily kept from the head of the FBI. Comey knew what the FBI said in the FISA warrant was deliberately evasive. He knew what he said last night wasn’t the truth, and he likely knew it at a very early stage of the investigation.
What Comey said last night about Americans standing up and going to the voting booth and vote their values doesn’t just work at the voting booth. Comey appeared last night to sell his own book, a tome written by a serial prevaricator who seems to tell as much of the truth as suits him or his agenda, which clearly isn’t an unbiased one.
Let this be a friendly reminder that you can vote with your dollars, at the bookstore or on your Kindle.
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