IG: Comey, team made plans to ‘memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred’

by WorldTribune Staff, August 30, 2019

Prior to the Jan. 6, 2017 meeting at Trump Tower in which then-FBI Director James Comey briefed then-President-elect Donald Trump on the infamous anti-Trump dossier, Comey and his team of investigators discussed the need to “memorialize” the meeting, according to a report released on Aug. 29 by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Right after his briefing with Trump, Comey immediately updated the FBI team probing Russia collusion claims about his private talk with the incoming president, the IG documented:

Former FBI Director James Comey. / Public Domain / C-SPAN

“Comey told the OIG he began writing Memo 1 immediately following his meeting with Trump on January 6, 2017. Comey said he had a secure FBI laptop waiting for him in his FBI vehicle and that when he got into the vehicle, he was handed the laptop and “began typing [Memo 1] as the vehicle moved.” He said he continued working on Memo 1 until he arrived at the FBI’s New York field office, where Comey gave a “quick download” of his conversation with President-elect Trump to Rybicki, McCabe, Baker, and supervisors of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigative team via secure video teleconference (SVTC). Comey said he probably told the SVTC participants that he would send them his “detailed notes” of the interaction.”

It was during the same Jan. 6, 2017 briefing that Comey had assured Trump that he was not a subject of the FBI probe.

Comey had also known at the time but did not inform Trump that the dossier authored by ex-British spy Christopher Steele was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Comey also previously stated that he pushed back against a request from Trump to possibly investigate the origins of “salacious material” – meaning the dossier.

The IG report states that FBI members on Comey’s team discussed the need to memorialize the exchanges between Comey and Trump during the briefing at Trump Tower just in case Trump made statements relevant to the bureau’s 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,” Breitbart’s Aaron Klein noted in an Aug. 29 report.

“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 the private talk. He also immediately provided a ‘quick download’ of the Trump briefing to members of the FBI’s Russia collusion team via a secured video conference.”

Klein continued: “Until now, Comey and other former Obama administration officials presented the unusual briefing as a courtesy to Trump to warn him about the news media possibly publicly releasing embarrassing claims about the newly elected president. Questions have been raised on the need to include the dossier’s wild and unsubstantiated charges in the classified briefings. It is not the usual job of the intelligence community to warn politicians about possible pending negative publicity.”

The DOJ IG’s report states:

“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the “salacious” information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation. That FBI counterintelligence investigation, known as “Crossfire Hurricane,” concerned whether individuals associated with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election were coordinating with, or had been unwittingly co-opted by, the Russian government.

Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be “able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the…salient details of those conversations.”

Another reason Comey provided for taking notes on his conversation with Trump was to “capture his…contemporaneous recollection” because there were “millions of ways that [the FBI] could get follow-up questions, or criticism…and [Comey] wanted to recollect exactly, from his perspective, how it had taken place.”

The IG report concluded that Comey broke FBI rules by providing one of his memos to a friend with instructions to share the contents with a reporter. Comey further failed to return his classified memos to the FBI after he was fired in May 2017, the report states.

“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees — and the many thousands more former FBI employees — who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information,” states the IG report.

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