Friday, July 31, 2020

Fact Or Fiction?

Well, if we're talking about Jeffrey Toobin--legal fabulist for CNN--and his new book, "TRUE CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS: The Investigation of Donald Trump," then I think we're talking fiction on several levels.

I really hadda laugh last night when I read an article at The Hill--FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book--that recounted an excerpt from Toobin's novel at CNN. My first thought was, Whoa! Theft and/or Destruction of Government Property in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the government of honest services! Or, in the alternative, in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud certain named persons of their constitutional rights. In plain sight--I couldn't believe McCabe could be publicly admitting to that. Here's what The HIll said:

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials reportedly took steps to preserve memos authored by former Director James Comey and other key documents related to the Russia investigation over worries that President Trump would interfere in the probe, CNN reported Thursday. 
In the days following Comey's ouster in 2017, McCabe reportedly thought that President Trump's decision to remove the FBI director was problematic and, as the then-acting director of the agency, instructed his team to open a criminal case, according to an adapted excerpt from CNN legal analyst Jeffery Toobin's book, "True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump." 
McCabe, fearing that he would not last at the agency given the tumultuousness of the moment, then acted to preserve Comey's memos detailing his conversations with Trump as well as other related documents on the FBI's internal system, thus ensuring that they could not be destroyed, according to CNN. 
Other officials sent documents including the memos to remote locations throughout the FBI, according to CNN, with the goal of preserving them to be shared at a later date. 

Did you catch what was going on? Here's the key phrase: "McCabe ... acted to preserve Comey's memos ... on the FBI's internal system." And just to be sure we have that right, here's Toobin:

McCabe couldn't be sure how long he'd last as director, so he wanted to lock down as much evidence as possible. Most important, he told the investigating agents to place Comey's memos in SENTINEL, the FBI's case management software. McCabe knew that once documents were inside the system, they were virtually impossible to remove. With Comey's memos in the system, the investigators were certain to have access to them -- even if McCabe himself would eventually be gone.
Would Trump dismiss more people? Would he shut down the investigation of his campaign's ties to Russia? Would the President demand that the Bureau cease its investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump's onetime national security adviser?

Wait--does that mean that Comey's memos had previously NOT been in SENTINEL? Yes, it does, but, Excuse me! ALL official records must be preserved on the official file system. No exceptions allowed. Believe me--if there's a reason to restrict access to particular investigations within the FBI file system, there are well established, tried and tested, methods for doing so. That's absolutely basic for any investigative agency. It's no more than the application of the basic need-to-know principle that governs all investigative activity.

All Toobin is actually doing is providing us with McCabe's self serving account of how the Comey memos finally--months after some were written--found their way into the FBI's file system where they belonged in the first place. In other words, this is a backhand admission that Comey, McCabe, and presumably others were maintaining a private file system apart from the FBI's official file system. The facts of what happened, as opposed to Toobin's fictional account, run like this:

After Comey's firing McCabe and other top conspirators--undoubtedly including McCabe but also, in all likelihood, James Baker and possibly a few others--afraid that the nature and extent of their conspiracy would become widely known throughout the FBI and DoJ and thus leakable, as also the fact that they had been maintaining a private file system, i.e., conducting a private investigation--scrambled to get the private file system uploaded into the official file system.

The idea that entering Comey's memos into the FBI file system was a security measure rather than an after the fact CYA measure doesn't come remotely close to passing the laugh test.

With this in mind, check out (below) this Fox News account of these events, dating from a year ago. It certainly appears that Comey was, in actual fact, conducting investigative actions targeting President Trump with the object of using the private files he had created in his official capacity in a future move to remove Trump from office. Those are definitely acts in furtherance of a conspiracy to deprive the government of his honest services as FBI Director. Also keep in mind, all this happened months after two key events:

  1. The FBI's Washington Field Office recommended closure of the unpredicated Flynn investigation; Flynn was nevertheless interviewed, and those involved agreed there was no case.
  2. The Danchenko interview confirmed beyond dispute that the Steele "dossier" was a Clinton campaign generated fraud that could not be used to justify any investigations or investigative activity (such as the Carter Page FISA). The Danchenko further confirmed that the FBI's inclusion of the Steele material in the ICA and its failure to correct the ICA constituted a further knowing fraud against the government.

Add to that the fact that, contemporaneously with the scramble to get Comey's memos into the FBI's file system, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were agreeing that there was "no 'there' there" to the Russia collusion hoax. Put it all together, and I think you'll see what has the Dems absolutely terrified about Barr and Durham.

So, here was go with Greg Re's excellent article at Fox--FBI agents went to Comey's house, retrieved secret memo written after his termination:

FBI agents went to James Comey's house and retrieved as "evidence" a secret, previously unreported memo, well after he was fired as FBI Director, according to bureau documents released Wednesday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the transparency group Judicial Watch. 
Additionally, Comey told agents "spontaneously" that, to "the best of his recollection, two [memos] were missing," according to the documents.
A source familiar with the probe has confirmed to Fox News that the DOJ Inspector General's office has been reviewing whether Comey's memos improperly contained classified information, among other matters. 
Comey was fired on May 9, 2017, and on the morning of June 7, an FBI evidence log showed that he handed the agents three memos comprised of one or two pages, dated February 14, 2017; March 30, 2017; and April 11, 2017. Comey also provided one four-page memo dated “last night at 6:30 pm." It was unclear exactly which night Comey was referring to. 
In a sworn court filing released earlier this year, the FBI said it first obtained a "compilation" of Comey's memos on May 12, 2017 -- meaning that the FBI agents appear to have obtained the original versions at Comey's residence. 
The day after agents visited his home, Comey admitted in congressional testimony that he had leaked memos purportedly documenting his contemporaneous recollections of his conversations with President Trump, through a friend, so that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be appointed. Comey documented, for instance, that Trump allegedly demanded his loyalty, and said he hoped the FBI would let the Michael Flynn matter "go." 
According to the FBI documents, "After being collected from Comey, the memos were locked securely in a General Services Administration approved safe" at FBI headquarters, then "transported and entered into evidence at the FBI Washington Field Office evidence control center." 
One of the two missing memos, Comey said, was written sometime between January 7, 2017, and January 20 of that year, after Trump called Comey.
The second memo was written after Trump requested Comey talk to him about a sensitive matter that was "all business," Comey told the agents. Comey said he was "on his way to a FBI leadership conference in Leesburg, Virginia (March 9, 2017) when he was diverted to Liberty Crossing to respond to a request from Trump to contact him," according to the FBI memo. "Comey contacted Trump from Liberty Crossing on a Top Secret telephone line." 
In April, a court-ordered filing by the DOJ revealed Comey included a slew of sensitive and classified information in a series of comprehensive personal memos -- including not only the details of his conversations with Trump, but also the "code name and true identity" of a confidential source. 
The filing acknowledged that Comey maintained a far more detailed and lengthy private paper trail [i.e., file system] than was previously known, and that federal investigators apparently hoped to use Comey's contemporaneous, secretive writings to test the truthfulness of Trump's comments as part of a then-ongoing obstruction-of-justice inquiry. 
Comey meticulously outlined "foreign intelligence information obtained from and through" the key human source, "information about whether the FBI initiated coverage through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on a particular individual," relevant "sources and methods" used in the FBI's investigation and "information concerning the President's foreign policy decisionmaking," according to the DOJ. 
All of that information was "currently and properly classified," the DOJ noted.
Additionally, Comey's memos included documentation of "non-public interactions" between "specific foreign governments and officials" and U.S. government officials. Disclosing those details, the DOJ insisted, "could reasonably be expected" to "affect the United States' relationship with those countries." 
The existence and contents of limited details from some of Comey's memos were partially leaked to the media by a Comey friend with Comey's knowledge following his termination and served as a catalyst for Mueller's appointment in May 2017. Comey has denied that he leaked classified information in the memos. A review into the matter by the DOJ Inspector General (IG) has been ongoing. A source told  Fox News, and Attorney General William Barr testified this past April that the DOJ actively was looking into the FBI's conduct.

The conclusion seems inescapable. With full knowledge that there was absolutely no predicate for the "collusion" investigation, nor for the investigations against most or even all of the Trump campaign associates, Comey was pursuing investigative actions targeting the president that used the Russia Hoax as justification.


  1. @Mark

    Although Comey and McCabe's insanity is an inescapable conclusion, I doubt it will hold up as a defense in their (it is devoutly to be hoped) inevitable prosecutions.

    1. I couldn't help speculate on that while writing. They're both sick dudes.

  2. They will all document their crimes in their upcoming books. Hubris will bring them all down.

  3. >> The filing acknowledged that Comey maintained a far more detailed and lengthy private paper trail [i.e., file system] than was previously known, and that federal investigators apparently hoped to use Comey's contemporaneous, secretive writings to test the truthfulness of Trump's comments as part of a then-ongoing obstruction-of-justice inquiry. <<

    That's a planned in advance "perjury trap." And it was planned before they opened the Obstruction investigation on Trump, for which there was no valid predication!

    IOW, one reason they kept Comey's memos of his conversations with Trump out of the official records until after Comey was fired was so that Trump could not be forewarned of their existence, thus maximizing the chance he might be tempted to fib about his conversations with Comey if questioned about them.

    So, not only were they investigating Trump without a valid investigatory case, or predicate; they were setting him up for a perjury trap before they even opened the falsely predicated Obstruction investigation!

    There is the smoking gun that proves this was a soft coup attempt.

    And thus, as you say, no wonder they are losing their minds over Barr/Durham and where their counter-investigation will go.

    1. And these notes...who is to say Comey didn't deliberately "document" false information solely for the purpose of the setup job. Thank goodness Trump had lawyers with the good sense to convince Trum not letting him sit down for an interview.

    2. The fact that they planned a perjury trap in advance of opening an official investigation is prima facia evidence of bias, and hence one would be justified in suspecting false information being planted in the Comey memos that formed the backbone of the perjury trap.

      This fits perfectly with my longstanding belief that Comey intentionally baited Trump to fire him -- to set up the Obstruction investigation and provide impetus to appoint a Special Counsel who would then follow-up on the bogus Obstruction investigation and try to frame him for Impeachment, rather than prosecution, because there was never an adequate predicate for the Obstruction investigation, nor did any of Trump's actions satisfy the legal elements of Obstruction.

      Comey baited him by telling Trump repeatedly that he wasn't under investigation while FBI was concurrently leaking stories to the contrary to their pals in the MSM, and then refusing Trump's request to tell the public what Comey was telling him in private -- "you are NOT under investigation."

      That's a surefire plan to get a POTUS to fire a FBI Director. And that's what sets in motion the Mueller Probe and Obstruction frame-up.

    3. Since the only rule they go by is "whatever it takes," if Comey thought that making things up was necessary to the cause, and that he wasn’t taking undue personal legal or other risk in doing so, I’d think he'd have done it, no problem.

      But I'd bet he figured that A) it wasn't necessary since things were set up, especially with the help of the kill-Trump DOJ and courts, the media & the entire Dem propaganda machine, to be able to catch Trump in even the tiniest of discrepancies and nail him good and hard from there, and B) he couldn't be certain Trump hadn't spoken more or less contemporaneously with others and that some of those others didn't also take notes. Or even (Gasp!) that there might’ve been recording devices set up somehow. (I assume he assumed, probably correctly, the Prez himself wouldn’t pen any memos.)

      So Comey would have no problem making things up as a matter of principle, but probably he didn't see the risk-reward being there. Also, he's such a head case, it probably helped him maintain the fiction he was a white hat by not making things up -- even though in reality he'd do it in a second if he actually thought it necessary and not overly risky to himself, and then tell himself the lies were vital to the cause of good and therefore made him even more of a white hat than before.

      Armchair psychology, I know, but pretty strongly supported by the facts, imo.

    4. It's slightly more complicated than that. Officially, they still had CH open--so there was an official investigation. However, note that CH was the umbrella, and each individual had a subfile investigation. We've never heard that an investigation of Trump himself was opened under the umbrella of CH--not until McCabe did so after Comey was fired. That means to me that Comey was conducting investigative activity that was specifically targeting Trump without an open and predicated investigation.

      Now, he would defend that by claiming that note taking during or immediately after official conversations is established practicie. However, I believe evidence is accumulating to show that much of this activity was intended to instigate or incite statements from Trump that could later be used to trip him up--not simply to document official discussions. Tricky to prove, perhaps, but I believe that's where the evidence points.

    5. One thing I have always wanted someone to check is to see how many "memos to file" that Comey wrote documenting his conversations with Obama.

      My suspicion is the answer is ZERO.

      Ergo, such memos were not customary for Comey to generate, and were thus specific to Trump.

      "Targetted." And that means Trump was the target, even when there was no predicated investigation of him. And that goes to criminal intent.

    6. "The idea that entering Comey's memos into the FBI file system was a security measure rather than an after the fact CYA measure doesn't come remotely close to passing the laugh test."

      What a great read this post was.

      This site is always wonderful, and not trying to boot lick here, but this Comey memos / file system business is one of those sneaky, technical, under-the-radar issues that’s right straight up your Special Agent wheelhouse, and it’s very cool watching you take the bad guys apart.

      I never would’ve made the connections you lay out here and so was smiling like a kid while seeing them revealed. And even better, as you say (essentially), another fat nail in the "no predication, all conspiracy" coffin.

      I wonder: how many other similar little details must Durham have to help put this conspiracy puzzle all together? Probably a lot.

    7. Thanks. You can only imagine how dumbfounded I was to read the nonsense that Toobin wrote.

    8. Since these are FBI-centric details, how confident are you that Durham's team is picking up on them?

    9. Durham's team is composed of large numbers of FBI agents, lawyers, and support personnel. Durham himself has worked with the FBI his entire professinal career.

    10. Passed over the headline of this post several times, as it didn't indicate the enormity contained within. Wonderful stuff. The gallows is coming into focus.

      Thank God. (and Mark Wauck)

  4. Mr. Wauck, this is the correct link to Re's article:

  5. A couple observations...

    Unless Comey has been writing memos on an old Underwood typewriter, they would've been created on a computer. Thus efforts to print a hard copy and delete the then-created computer file is, shall we say, nefarious intent. It's outside the bounds of procedure for official record making and record keeping, i.e. deception, and therefore suggestive of criminal or conspiratorial intent. (Comey has been watching too much scripted TV detective mysteries to organize such "previously undiscovered" memos to be used as evidence.)

    It also strikes me, and I'll bet there's a directive contained in official FBI/DOJ guidelines, procedures, and policies that managers supervise the case work, while agents perform the investigations. I.e., the FBI Director (and similar managers)
    don't engage in hands-on investigatory work.

    Combined with confirmed selective "leaks," Comey's actions, integrity, and honesty are a disgrace, unethical, and unprofessional, and should find no quarter for defending. Criminally, he's still innocent until proven guilty.

    Two other smaller details: Documents previously created, then entered into the case file system at a later date, surely are considered (suspect) invalid as credible evidence, as provenance and chain of custody has been violated. Such documents would be ripe for tampering.

    Then this: -->Other officials sent documents including the memos to remote locations throughout the FBI, according to CNN, with the goal of preserving them to be shared at a later date.<--

    More deception in violation of record keeping protocol in furtherance of a conspiracy.

    I marvel at the ease and regularity with which these active deceptions and exceptions to official procedures were carried out. It beggars belief that these are the only instances of such conduct, that they are isolated occurrences, and that the balance of the FBI/DOJ are scrupulous in adhering to all guidelines, policies, and procedures. And pigs will fly.

    The only irony is that rather than the Marxist rabble, supporters of the rule of law and the equal administration of justice (Trump supporters), should be out in the streets protesting the actual injustice inflicted on the American Republic by these Deep State (hoax and coup) conspirators.

    1. Upon being fired, Comey would have had to turn in his official property--including all electronic devices. So they should have had anything that he created docs of any sort on. If he did so on non-FBI devices that would have been a big no-no.

    2. "It beggars belief that these are the only instances of such conduct...."

      Indeed, I would say Comey, Mueller, McCabe are too unimaginative to come up with anything "new." Almost certainly they had seen/participated in similar sleight-of-hand used in other instances, Whitey Bulger's case or like assaults on the American concept of justice.

    3. Mark, I had in mind the fact that Comey, at least on one occasion, had a waiting FBI vehicle with a laptop computer, so that he could record notes immediately following a meeting with Trump at the WH. All while Comey tells Trump he's not being investigated.

      Comey's conduct reveals investigatory intent--but of what suspicion, and what predication?

      It all reeks of investigating the man, not a crime--the able passion of the NKVD's Lavrentiy Beria.

    4. Absolutely right. That was after the Trump Tower briefing, first week of January. It happened after WFO recommended Flynn be closed and nothing had been developed on Page, the supposed intermediary to Moscow. No doubt.

  6. Just before Comey was fired, I recall reading in an article that Comey was known to keep his papers in his office rather than submitting them to a central filing system of some kind. I always thought that that was why he was fired and his office secured while he was away.

    1. Probably so, and I suspect that McCabe didn't have direct control of the people sent to take custody of Comey's office. Thus the freakout.

  7. WaPo August 2019:

    Comey violated FBI policy in handling of memos detailing interactions with Trump, inspector general finds

    Former FBI director James B. Comey violated FBI policies in how he handled memos that detailed his controversial interactions with President Trump, setting a “dangerous example” for bureau employees about substituting personal righteousness for established rules, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found in a report released Thursday.

    The inspector general criticized Comey for keeping the government documents at his home, engineering the release of some of their contents to the news media and not telling the bureau to whom he had given them — even after he was aware that some contained classified information.

    Comey told investigators that he felt the memos were personal and that he was acting in the best interests of the country. But the inspector general rejected that defense, writing that Comey’s senior FBI leaders all agreed the memos were government documents, and that the former director’s “own, personal conception of what was necessary was not an appropriate basis for ignoring the policies and agreements governing the use of FBI records.”

    “The responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties,” the inspector general wrote. “Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”

    More here:

  8. Jeffrey Toobin was one of the young lawyers who made a name for themselves giving legal “commentary” and “analysis” during the O.J. Simpson trial. He was a dunce then and has not changed a bit.

  9. "federal investigators apparently hoped to use Comey's contemporaneous, secretive writings to test the truthfulness of Trump's comments"

    Ha ha. Test Trump's truthfulness against Comey's personal secret memos: "POTUS Trump touched my no-no area while saying he was a Russian agent." GTFO.

  10. July 2017:

    Comey testified last month before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a friend. He asked that friend, a law professor at Columbia University, to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director.

    “So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document?” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) asked Comey on June 8. “You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?”

    “Correct,” Comey answered. “I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.” (Snip)

    “I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership,” he testified about the one memo he later leaked about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

    He added, “My view was that the content of those unclassified memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.”

    But when the seven memos Comey wrote regarding his nine conversations with Trump about Russia earlier this year were shown to Congress in recent days, the FBI claimed all were, in fact, deemed to be government documents.

    Personal memo, revealed to media because of duty as a private citizen, but first he dragged it by “FBI senior leadership”.

  11. Would love to see a book of all this when it all gets out in the light of day. The top two things against it are that, in length and complexity, it will make Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago" (the two volume set) look like the children's book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" of the political world and that it will be more difficult to obtain than Pasternak's "Dr. Zhivago" from a Moscow bookseller, circa 1958. Mere possession will be proof of "crimethink" and a one-way ticket to a re-education camp.

  12. Mark - if I recall correctly, the handwritten notes of AD Bill Priestap contained a notation at the bottom left stating something to the effect of “review on standalone.” Seems to me these guys and gals might have been keeping an unofficial offline collection of records outside of Sentinel (the FBI’s official system of record).

    1. I have been wondering where USA Jensen has been finding this stuff.