by WorldTribune Staff, September 3, 2019
Ex-FBI chief James Comey was fishing for Trump-Russia collusion evidence when he brought up the discredited dossier during a Jan. 6, 2017 Trump Tower meeting with then-President-elect Donald Trump, according to a report by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.
“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG [Office of the Inspector General] 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,” DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in his 83-page report released last week.
Immediately following his meeting with Trump, Comey briefed the Russia investigation’s supervisors, including Peter Strzok, via secure video conference, the report states. Strzok headed the operation and vowed to “stop” Trump in private texts with his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
“The public narrative for the one-on-one is that Mr. Comey wanted to alert Mr. Trump on the dossier’s allegation that he engaged with prostitutes in Moscow in 2013,” Rowan Scarborough noted in a Sept. 2 report for The Washington Times. “Mr. Comey had learned through his press office that CNN was preparing to report on the dossier. The public later learned that the discredited scandal sheet was written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who was paid by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign.”
But the FBI’s decision to inform Trump of the dossier’s existence had a far more serious motive, according to Horowitz.
Horowitz noted that, at least since July 31, 2016, the FBI had been investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election by computer hacking and social media information warfare.
Comey’s inner circle saw the Jan. 6, 2017 meeting with Trump as an opportunity to extract evidence for the investigation given the code name “Crossfire Hurricane”.
Comey memorialized the meeting in what Horowitz’s report dubbed “Memo 1.”
Related: IG: Comey, team made plans to ‘memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred’, August 30, 2019
Strzok along with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, Chief of Staff James Rybicki and those supervising “Crossfire Hurricane” met to set the strategy for the meeting, Horowitz said.
McCabe pressed for the creation of Memo 1 because, Horowitz’s report said, he felt Trump might misrepresent what happened.
“In the two-plus years since the tower meeting, the dossier took on tremendous importance in what Republicans allege was a conspiracy at the FBI, with Clinton operatives,” to bring down the president, Scarborough wrote.
Well aware of the dossier’s unverified allegations against Trump, Comey’s “plotted the tower meeting. By then the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team had used the dossier to obtain at least one yearlong wiretap on a Trump campaign adviser,” Scarborough wrote.
In the end, none of Steele’s election conspiracy allegations proved true.
Horowitz concluded that Comey violated DOJ rules in handling memos he wrote for the record on his meetings with Trump.