Picking up from part 2, James Comey, the director of the FBI, signs off on a FISA warrant request targeting Carter Page in October 2016 using the now-discredited Steele dossier as his primary justification for probable cause. Ironically, he uses alleged corroboration from a public source- Yahoo News- which was fed to that agency by the author of the discredited dossier, Michael Steele. It should be noted that there were subsequent renewals of the initial warrant against Page, but Page was never charged with anything as a result of any information gleaned from these warrants. In other words, Page was under FISA-court directed surveillance for over a year that resulted in squat.
But what good is a salacious dossier if a FISA warrant is not generating its hoped for results? Enter the media. Before the inauguration of Trump in January 2017, on January 10th of that year CNN reported that the contents of the Steele dossier were presented to then president-elect Trump one week prior to the reporting by CNN in a classified briefing, along with then-President Obama. This classified briefing was conducted by Comey, CIA director John Brennan, DNI James Clapper, and NSA Director Mike Rogers. Comey then allegedly took Trump aside to brief him privately on the dossier’s most salacious allegations.
In the CNN report, they cited “multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings.” The purpose of the briefing was to inform both Obama and Trump of the intelligence community and that of law enforcement of efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 election. The dossier’s contents were attached to the intelligence community assessment (ICA) as a two page addendum.
Prior to the CNN report on this briefing, it must be remembered that many media organizations were aware of the Steele dossier but refused to make its contents public because of its unsubstantiated, uncorroborated and salacious content. In short, it was just too risky to publish and may be the first and only time the media showed anything resembling sanity when it came to Trump.
All that changed when CNN reported on the classified briefing with the top intelligence and law enforcement leaders in the country with an outgoing and incoming President. The mere fact such an important meeting and the gist of its contents made it to CNN from “multiple US officials” is scary enough. Further, the fact they cited “multiple US officials” indicates that these were Obama administration officials since Trump had yet to be sworn in as President. Nobody on his side was yet a “US official.”
Within hours of the CNN report, BuzzFeed, which had been sitting on the story like other outlets, published the full contents of the Steele dossier. In short, this meeting between Trump, Obama, Comey, Clapper, Brennan, and Rogers gave the veneer of credibility to the Steele dossier. If such high officials were so trusting of its contents, then who was the media to question keeping it quiet even if it violated every journalistic practice like corroborating events and accusations? The flood gates had been opened as news agencies around the world rushed to judgment and accusing Trump of being Putin’s puppet.
So here is another question for James Comey: who leaked the information to CNN which was then used as justification to release the contents of an uncorroborated and unsubstantiated piece of opposition research paid for by Trump’s general election opponent?
Of course, this begs the question as to why Trump (and Obama) were even briefed on a document that was uncorroborated in the first place. The answer is easy: Comey, Brennan, Clapper and others had a deep animus against Trump. If one did not know better, it may have been a veiled attempt to keep Trump in line with these agencies. Perhaps, it was a veiled attempt at political blackmail. Or, perhaps it was just blind reliance on a piece of junk dossier. Either way, the “multiple US officials” gave the opening for the media to reveal the contents of the dossier. For Comey and others, it was a win-win scenario. Either they get Trump in line, or they hamstring Trump with the dossier’s allegations and those of Russian collusion. Given the way the FBI, IRS and other agencies under Obama were weaponized against political opponents and those policies with which he disagreed (let’s not forget Fast and Furious), one would not put it past Comey, Brennan, and Clapper to blackmail an incoming president. One can almost hear the conversation now:
- Comey: So how should I do it, guys?
- Brennan: Take him aside and tell him about the pee-pee tape that doesn’t exist.
- Comey: What if he doesn’t believe it? What if he calls bulls*** on it?
- Brennan: We got that covered.
- Clapper: I’ve got some multiple US officials in mind if Trump doesn’t get on board with the program and stop this footsie playing with Putin…
- Brennan: Of course, we have no evidence of footsie playing, but that’s besides the point…
- Clapper: Yeah, Jimmy Boy…remember- it’s your own people who cooked up that insurance policy.
- Comey: So I just pull him aside?
- Brennan: Yeah. And if he doesn’t get on board, then call us and multiple US officials will leak the briefing to the press. I got a job lined up with CNN in a month.
- Clapper: Just remember, Jimmy. This guy is a threat to democracy…
- Mike Rogers: Woof! Woof!
Laughter all around…
Except, the whole thing is not funny; it is downright scary. And people like Comey, Brennan, Clapper and a host of others were a bigger threat to American democracy since they concocted such a scheme to undermine a duly elected President. And if the goal of Putin and the Kremlin was to undermine democracy and the electoral process in the United States, they had willing accomplices in the outgoing Obama administration doing Putin’s bidding. All three should be hung as traitors.
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