Former FBI Director James Comey reacts after bumping something under the table, during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
There are a lot of interesting insights into the personality of former FBI director James Comey in this book “A Higher Loyalty.” I posted a couple of times on the subject earlier today (here | here). The feeling you come away with is not of a stand-up, tell-it-like-it-is guy but rather an odious little man whose driving force in life is the quality of his press clippings.
Here is another incident that is really curious.
On January 6, 2017, Comey made the trip to New York City to meet with incoming president Donald Trump. This is is how Fusion GPS stringer at NBC, Ken Dilanian, describes it:
President-elect Donald Trump was informed about the existence of the unverified allegations against him about Russian ties after last Friday’s Intel briefing at Trump Tower on alleged Russian hacking, U.S. officials told NBC News.A senior U.S. official said that it was FBI Director James Comey himself who pulled Trump aside after the briefing and spoke with him one-on-one about the so-called “dossier,” 35 pages of memos prepared by a former British spy for an anti-Trump client prior to last year’s election.
Fair enough. Two major issues there and the new president deserved to be briefed on them both. He especially deserved to be given a detailed brief on the dossier produced by Fusion GPS and its contractor, Christopher Steele, since it had launched a counterintelligence probe into his campaign and allowed members of his campaign to be wiretapped. This is how it went down:
Fired FBI Director James Comey has acknowledged that he never told Donald Trump that the dossier on which his bureau relied to investigate the president was financed by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign.
Promoting his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” Mr. Comey talked to ABC News about his seminal moment with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower on Jan. 6, 2017. He informed Mr. Trump about the dossier’s most salacious unproven charge — that in 2013 the future president entertained prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.
Mr. Comey presented the allegation to Mr. Trump as an intelligence report, keeping him in the dark about it being a piece of opposition research by ex-British spy Christoper Steele. Mr. Steele had told a Justice Department contact during the election that he was “desperate” to destroy the presidential candidate.
Here is the transcript from the George Stephanopoulos interview
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you tell him that the Steele dossier had been financed by his political opponents?
COMEY: No. I didn’t…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But did he have a right to know that?
COMEY: That it had been financed by his political opponents? I don't know the answer to that.
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) April 13, 2018
Fired FBI Director Comey admits that he never told President Trump the Steele dossier was funded by the DNC. pic.twitter.com/YbrTF4qnmC
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) April 13, 2018
I’m surprised that telling the president the source of the allegations rather than leading him to believe they are intelligence product is pretty much a no-brainer. But what do I know? I’m just a guy who doesn’t lie to or mislead his boss. I’d even submit that as the information has emerged about the source of the dossier and other material, Comey’s lack of honesty in that first meeting has gone a long way towards permanently poisoning the well between the White House and FBI.
Again, this is a story that isn’t as much fun to write about as fantasizing about Trump and hookers but it is a critical story in understanding Comey’s motives and why we are where we are today.