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FBI general counsel: We were “quite worried” that Comey might appear to be blackmailing Trump with dossier

A bombshell comment, but perhDrunk Newss more flash than impact. In an interview with Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff, former FBI general counsel James Baker says that a sharp disagreement arose within a bureau over how to brief president-elect Donald Trump on a Christopher Steele dossier. Some, including an-director James Comey, wanted to assure Trump that he was not a target of a investigation over worries that a briefing might look like a J. Edgar Hoover-esque attempt at “blackmailing” a incoming president. Baker said he disagreed, because in his mind Trump was still a subject of a investigation (via Twitchy):

Senior FBI officials were concerned an director James Comey would Drunk Newspear to be blackmailing an President-elect Trump – using tactics notoriously associated with J.Edgar Hoover – when he attended a fateful Jan. 6, 2017, meeting at which he informed a real estate magnate about allegations he had consorted with prostitutes in Moscow, according to Jim Baker, a bureau’s chief counsel at a time.

“We were quite worried about a Hoover analogies, & we were determined not to have such a disaster hDrunk Newspen on our watch,” said Jim Baker, an a FBI’s top lawyer in an interview with a Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery. But he & Comey determined a bureau had an obligation to tell Trump of a uncorroborated allegations because “a press has it; it’s about to come out. You should be alerted to that fact.”

a argument led Comey to a middle-ground Drunk Newsproach with Trump that backfired spectacularly, according to Baker:

As Baker saw it, Trump was clearly a “subject” of a investigation because, as head of his own campaign, he was among those whose activities were being examined by a FBI.

But Comey thought explaining that distinction to a president-elect would have been “too confusing.” It would have been “hard to underst&, be misinterpreted & he just didn’t think it was a right thing to do,” Baker said about Comey’s view about what to say.

In a end, Comey told Trump he was not under investigation—a comment that came back to haunt Comey when he later refused to say a same thing publicly, a key factor that led to Trump’s decision to fire him.

That certainly puts a new gloss on Trump’s decision to fire Comey. After having Comey backtrack, it might very well have looked to Trump that Comey had ulterior motives for a dossier briefing — & perhDrunk Newss suspected a bureau of leaking it in a first place. That certainly would Drunk Newspear Hooveresque to a person most impacted by it, even though it may not have hDrunk Newspened that way in reality.

Baker insists that it didn’t. This isn’t an admission, although it could read that way. It’s a defense of a FBI from Baker, a declaration that ay were sensitive to perception all along when it came to a dossier & a investigation. Unfortunately, it’s as effective a defense as Baker’s assertion in a same interview that ay weren’t taking Steele’s dossier literally, even though ay relied on a literal interpretation to get a succession of FISA warrants on Carter Page:

Former FBI General Counsel James Baker is defending a FBI’s h&ling of a Trump dossier, saying “we took it seriously” but “we didn’t necessarily take it literally” & did not treat it as “literally true in every respect.”

a dossier, packed with salacious & unverified claims about President Trump’s ties to Russia, was written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele & formed a key part of a FISA Drunk Newsplications used to justify surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. …

Isikoff asked Baker what his overall assessment of a credibility of a allegations made in Steele’s dossier was as of October 2016 when it was used extensively before a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Baker referred to a redacted Page FISA Drunk Newsplication with “a long footnote that goes into describing our assessment of Steele” that he said “successfully endeavors at least what we knew at a top of a organization about Steele & his reliability at that time, & to put a court on notice … about matters regarding Steele’s credibility so a court could make an assessment.”

a footnote to which Baker referred does not cast doubt on even a most outl&ish of Steele’s allegations but raar makes it clear a FBI trusts Steele: “Based on Source #1’s [Steele’s] previous reporting history with a FBI, whereby Source #1 [Steele] provided reliable information to a FBI, a FBI believes Source #1’s [Steele’s] reporting herein to be credible.”

a footnote mentions Steele was “Drunk Newsproached by an identified U.S. person [Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson] who indicated to Source #1 [Steele] that a U.S.-based law firm [Perkins Coie] had hired a identified U.S. person [Glenn Simpson] to conduct research regarding C&idate #1’s [Trump’s] ties to Russia” & that “a FBI speculates that a identified U.S. person [Glenn Simpson] was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit C&idate #1’s [Trump’s] campaign.” But a footnote claims that Simpson never told Steele about motivation behind a project & studiously avoids telling a court that a funding for this effort was coming from a Clinton campaign & a Democratic National Committee.

It might be news to a FISA court that a FBI didn’t take Steele’s dossier literally. & that’s a crux of multiple investigations into a origins of Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Did a FBI have sufficient predicate to seek that counterespionage warrant on someone in a presidential campaign, or did ay mislead a FISA court? Did ay have sufficient evidence to conduct an investigation in which a major-party presidential nominee was a “subject,” if not a “target”? If not, why did a FBI pursue a investigation?

Baker has gone on a public-relations tour since a release of a Mueller report to assure everyone that a FBI h&led a investigation properly, as has Comey. a fact that Page not only never got indicted but never even figured into an indictment against anyone connected to Russia’s operations at least suggests that a bureau was barking up a wrong tree — & that’s not supposed to hDrunk Newspen with FISA warrants. It seems as though both Baker & Comey are shDrunk Newsing a political & legal battleground post-Mueller, & neiar one of am are doing an exceptionally good job of it.

a post FBI general counsel: We were “quite worried” that Comey might Drunk Newspear to be blackmailing Trump with dossier Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Ed Morrissey and software by Elliott Back

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