As reported by Breitbart
A key revelation in the report released last week by the Justice Department’s inspector general raises questions about the roles played by Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Susan Rice and other senior members of the Obama administration in disgraced former FBI Director James Comey’s infamous classified briefing to then President-elect Donald Trump about “salacious” material inside the anti-Trump dossier.
As Breitbart News reported, the IG report relates that prior to the briefing, FBI members on Comey’s team discussed the need to memorialize the exchanges between Comey and Trump during the private January 6, 2017 briefing in Trump Tower just in case Trump made statements relevant to the agency’s controversial Russia probe. In other words, they plotted to stealthily use statements Trump said to Comey in a private briefing to inform their Russia collusion investigation.
The IG further relates that Comey went on to do just that. He had a laptop waiting for him in the car, where he immediately began memorializing his private talk with Trump. He also immediately provided a “quick download” of the Trump briefing to members of “Crossfire Hurricane” – the FBI’s compartmentalized Russia collusion team — via a secured video conference.
The revelation that Comey immediately fed the details of his private meeting with Trump to the FBI team investigation unsubstantiated Russia collusion raises questions about what Obama, Biden, Rice and other Obama-era officials knew about the intent to use the planned briefing to fuel the questionable Russia investigation and surreptitiously pass the contents of the private talk to the FBI.
In his book, A Higher Loyalty, Comey writes that he told Obama, Biden and Rice about his plans to have the private briefing with Trump. He did this on January 5, 2017 in a White House briefing with Obama one day before he met Trump and underhandedly sent the details of their one-on-one to the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” team handling the Russia collusion claims.
After an extended discussion on the intelligence assessment, the president asked what the plan was for further briefings. Director Clapper explained that we were to meet the Gang of Eight the next morning—the top officials in Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, briefed on intelligence matters—and then we would go immediately to New York City to brief the president-elect and his senior team. Clapper explained to Obama that there was an unusual matter that needed to be brought to Mr. Trump’s attention: additional material—what would become commonly called “the Steele dossier”—that contained a variety of allegations about Trump.
Comey writes that Obama specifically asked about the details of the “plan” to brief Trump:
Obama did not appear to have any reaction to any of this—at least none he would share with us. In a level voice, he asked, “What’s the plan for that briefing?” With just the briefest of sidelong glances at me, Clapper took a breath, then said, “We have decided that Director Comey will meet alone with the president-elect to brief him on this material following the completion of the full ICA briefing.” The president did not say a word. Instead he turned his head to his left and looked directly at me. He raised and lowered both of his eyebrows with emphasis, and then looked away. I suppose you can read whatever you want into a wordless expression, but to my mind his Groucho Marx eyebrow raise was both subtle humor and an expression of concern. It was almost as if he were saying, “Good luck with that.” I began to feel a lump in my stomach…
That same day, Comey writes, he received a call from Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, further inquiring about the plan to brief Trump. Johnson was present at Comey’s White House meeting with Obama earlier in the day.
The ex-FBI chief relates:
Later that day, I received a call from Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, who had been a friend since we were federal prosecutors together in Manhattan in the 1980s. He had been in the Oval Office that morning for the briefing. I have no idea whether he was calling me at President Obama’s suggestion, or if the two even spoke about the matter, but he gave voice to how I viewed the Oval Office eyebrow raise. “Jim, I’m worried about this plan for you to privately brief the president-elect,” he said. “Me, too,” I replied. “Have you ever met Donald Trump?” he asked. “No.” “Jim, please be careful. Be very careful. This may not go well.” I thanked Jeh for the concern and the call.
In their book, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn write about the briefing with Obama one day before Comey met with Trump.
On Thursday, January 5, 2017, the day before its public release, the intelligence chiefs briefed Obama and his senior staff. White House officials were taken aback. It was “the first time all the pieces came together for us,” one senior official said. “It seemed a much grander conspiracy than it was during the election. This was an intelligence failure and a failure of the imagination.” And when Biden was briefed about intelligence reports on the connections between various players in the Trump orbit and the Kremlin, he had a visceral reaction. “If this is true,” he exclaimed, “it’s treason.”
A few days earlier, Rice had encouraged Clapper during the daily intelligence briefing to tell Obama about the “golden showers” allegation. Obama turned to Rice and said, “Why am I hearing this?” He was incredulous. “What’s happening?” he asked. Rice said the intelligence community had no idea if this story was true but that Obama needed to be aware the allegation was circulating. “You don’t really expect to hear the term ‘golden showers’ in the President Daily Brief,” a participant in this meeting later said, “or that the guy who is going to become president may be a Manchurian candidate.
Biden, Rice Involved in Early Stages of Russia Probe
Biden and Rice were reportedly involved in the Russia probe since the early inception of the investigation. Attorney General William Barr made a series of public comments that the U.S. administration’s early handling of the Russia investigation may itself raise questions. He noted that it was first handled at a “very senior level” and then by a “small group.” Barr recently appointed a U.S. attorney to investigate the origins of the Russia collusion claims.
You can read more here.