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:
- 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.
- 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.