Trump: ‘Little Adam Schiff’ one of the ‘biggest liars and leakers in Washington’

President Trump on Monday lashed out at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), calling him “one of the biggest liars” in Washington and accusing him of leaking confidential information.

“Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with [James] Comey, [Sen. Mark] Warner, [John] Brennan and [James] Clapper!” Trump tweeted, referring to the former FBI director, the Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman, a former CIA chief and a former national intelligence chief, respectively.

Trump also accused Schiff of leaving committee hearings to “illegally leak confidential information,” something the White House has previously suggested Schiff has done.

Schiff, who is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has denied such accusations and fired back later Monday morning, saying Trump was spreading “false smears.”

“Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or…really anything else,” Schiff tweeted.

The California lawmaker has been a vocal critic of Trump and in recent days has been a central figure in objecting to the release of a Republican-crafted memo that alleges the Department of Justice abused a surveillance program to target the Trump campaign in 2016.

The four-page memo was released Friday after Trump declassified the document. The president tweeted that it “totally vindicates” him in the ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Schiff, however, said the memo does “quite the opposite.” Multiple Republicans said Sunday that the memo does not vindicate Trump.

Schiff also warned Sunday that Trump is trying to turn the Justice Department into a “personal political tool.”

The Intel panel is scheduled to meet on Monday to consider whether to declassify a Democratic memo that counters the Republican’s release.

[The Hill]

Reality

There is no evidence Adam Schiff leaked anything. Even Fox News had nothing, interviewing Devin Nunes who said he was responsible for 100 leaks, but provided no evidence. A common theme with Nunes.

Trump’s gripes against McCabe included wife’s politics, Comey’s ride home

The day after President Donald Trump fired James Comey as director of the FBI, he became so furious watching television footage of Comey boarding a government-funded plane from Los Angeles back to Washington that he called the bureau’s acting director, Andrew McCabe, to vent, according to multiple people familiar with the phone call.

Trump demanded to know why Comey was allowed to fly on an FBI plane after he had been fired, these people said. McCabe told the president he hadn’t been asked to authorize Comey’s flight, but if anyone had asked, he would have approved it, three people familiar with the call recounted to NBC News.

The president was silent for a moment and then turned on McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser — an apparent reference to a failed campaign for state office in Virginia that McCabe’s wife made in 2015.

McCabe replied, “OK, sir.” Trump then hung up the phone.

A White House official, who would not speak on the record, disputed the account, saying, “this simply never happened. Any suggestion otherwise is pure fiction.” The FBI declined to comment on the call.

The previously unreported exchange was one of a series of attacks Trump has aimed at McCabe that fueled tensions between the White House and the Justice Department and culminated Monday with McCabe stepping down as the FBI’s deputy director.

In the past, Trump had also reportedly asked McCabe how he voted in the 2016 election and repeatedly made public references to campaign donations his wife had received from an ally of Hillary and Bill Clinton.

In an impromptu exchange last week with reporters who had been speaking with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Trump said he did not recall asking McCabe who he voted for in 2016. “I don’t think I did,” he said. “I don’t know what’s the big deal with that because I would ask you … who did you vote for?”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the White House was not part of McCabe’s decision-making process about stepping down.

In recent weeks the White House has agitated for McCabe’s exit, saying he is part of a broader pattern of bias against the president in the highest levels of federal law enforcement. Defenders of the Justice Department’s leadership say the charges of bias are part of the president’s effort to try to undermine the federal probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Trump’s repeated criticism of McCabe, both in public and private, made the FBI’s deputy director the leading example of concerns Republicans have increasingly raised about potential impartiality at the Justice Department.

The phone call between Trump and McCabe after Comey’s firing last May underscores the president’s continued fixation on where the loyalties of people around him may lie and his frustration with autonomous arms of the government — particularly ones involved in the Russia investigation. It’s also emblematic of his early and persistent distrust of top Justice Department officials.

The combination of those sentiments whipped the president into such a fury over Comey last year that he wanted his firing to abruptly strip him of any trappings that come with the office and leave him across the country scrambling to find his own way home.

McCabe detailed his conversation with Trump after Comey’s firing to several people at the Justice Department, people familiar with the matter said.

In 2015 McCabe’s wife, Jill, had run for state office in Virginia. She accepted nearly $500,000 in campaign donations from the super PAC of Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally and former governor of Virginia. She lost by just over 2,000 votes.

Andrew McCabe was not involved in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton while his wife was running for office. He became involved in the probe in February 2016.

Comey was criticized by many Democrats for his handling of the Clinton inquiry. The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating.

Trump had publicly suggested that McCabe should not remain in FBI leadership at different times over the past year. Last July, the president questioned why Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t replace McCabe, whom the president described as “a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation.”

Last month the president also wrote on Twitter: “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” The amount the president said McCabe’s wife received was incorrect.

After he fired Comey, Trump met with McCabe in the Oval Office, and, according to The Washington Post, asked McCabe whom he voted for in the 2016 election. McCabe said he did not vote, the Post reported.

More recently, when reports surfaced last month that McCabe planned to retire in March after he’s eligible for full benefits, Trump seized on the news. “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” the president wrote on Twitter.

McCabe’s exit comes in the middle of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into whether the president has tried to obstruct justice in Russia investigation. Given his position at the FBI and his interactions with the president, McCabe is likely to be of use to Mueller in the obstruction inquiry.

Mueller was named to oversee the Russia investigation after Comey’s firing, which became a catalyst for the obstruction investigation.

The firing sent shock waves across Washington, including within the Trump administration.

Comey’s dismissal on May 9, 2017, was hastily executed and even took many senior White House officials by surprise. As it was unfolding, some of them quietly discussed how Comey would get back to Washington, a senior White House official who was there at the time said.

“I don’t think anybody had thought about how he’d get home,” the official said.

Trump thought Comey should not have been allowed to take the FBI plane he had taken to California, according to people familiar with the matter. The president’s longtime bodyguard and aide, Keith Schiller, delivered the news of Comey’s firing in envelope he brought to FBI headquarters while Comey was in California. Trump believed any privileges Comey had received as FBI director should have ceased at that moment, the people familiar with the matter said.

Comey learned of his termination from news reports broadcast on a TV in the room where he was addressing FBI agents in the bureau’s Los Angeles office. He had been in Los Angeles to speak at a recruiting event later that evening. But after learning he was fired, Comey skipped the event.

Instead he went to Los Angeles International Airport. Images of Comey on the tarmac boarding the government plane for the flight back to Washington were among the first the public saw of him after he was fired.

[NBC News]

Trump rips the FBI before speech at its training academy

President Trump on Friday tore into the FBI just hours before speaking at the agency’s training academy.

“It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI. But we’re going to rebuild the FBI; it’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump told reporters.

The president doubled down on his criticism of the nation’s top law enforcement agency before leaving the White House for the FBI’s campus in Quantico, Va., where he spoke to law enforcement leaders graduating from a training program.

Trump said revelations about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and text messages from a top agent that were critical of him were “really, really disgraceful.”

“You have a lot of very angry people who are seeing it,” the president said. “It’s a very sad thing to watch, I will tell you that.”

The president has long been suspicious of the FBI and intelligence agencies, but the timing of his criticism was remarkable.

Roughly an hour after Trump spoke at the White House, he appeared on stage at the academy with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the graduation ceremony.

During the speech, the president cast himself as a defender of law enforcement and lauded the bravery of police officers and FBI agents.

“These are great, great people. These are really heroes for all of us,” he said.

“The president of the United States has your back 100 percent,” Trump added. “I will fight for you and I will never, ever let you down. Ever.”

Trump’s comments come as special counsel Robert Mueller is working through his investigation into Russia’s election interference and whether the Trump campaign had any ties to it.

The president repeated his insistence his campaign staff had nothing to do with Russia’s election-related activities.

“Let’s put it this way: there is absolutely no collusion. That’s been proven,” Trump said.

“I didn’t make a phone call to Russia,” he added. “Even Democrats admit there was no collusion.”

Trump did speak about his Thursday phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which Trump said he tried to persuade Putin to do more to counter North Korea.

Trump thanked Putin for praising the performance of the U.S. economy this year.

The president and his allies are increasingly questioning the FBI’s integrity as they attack the Russia probe.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have slammed former FBI Director James Comey for revising a draft document detailing the agency’s findings in the Clinton email probe in a way that appeared to lessen its severity.

They have also zeroed in on text messages sent by top FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was a senior official on the Clinton probe and the Russia investigation. He was reassigned from Mueller’s investigation after private texts were discovered of him criticizing Trump.

“The level of anger at what they’ve been witnessing with respect to the FBI is certainly very sad,” Trump said.

Strzok also sent text messages criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former attorney general Eric Holder and Chelsea Clinton, among others.

Earlier Friday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox News that “the president is absolutely supportive of and has full faith and confidence in the rank-and-file members of the DOJ and also the FBI” but is upset with its some of its leaders.

Trump spoke to state and local law enforcement officials graduating from a program that is designed to improve standards and cooperation with federal authorities.

[The Hill]

Media

http://launch.newsinc.com/embed.html?trackingGroup=91690&siteSection=ndn&videoId=33354375

No justice!’: Trump blasts ‘rigged system’ that ‘destroyed’ Mike Flynn in second set of wild Saturday tweets

President Donald Trump took to Twitter again on Saturday evening to complain about the Department of Justice’s handling of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and to attack a favorite opponent, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday “interrogation” with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” he wrote.

He continued, “Many people in our Country are asking what the ‘Justice’ Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and “acid washed” 33,000 Emails? No justice!”

He went on to — once again — insist that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt” by way of offering a left-handed compliment to ABC News for suspending Brian Ross.

“Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and ‘papers’ should do the same with their Fake News!” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, tweets from Trump’s account raised eyebrows by appearing to be an admission of obstruction of justice. The White House frantically walked that back by blaming Trump’s personal attorney John Dowd for the reckless tweet.

Observers say that Trump is acting more erratic and is constantly fuming about the Russia investigation.

Frequently when Trump is under pressure or feeling trapped, he makes his wildest and most outlandish accusations on Twitter in an attempt to change the subject. The tweets that are now blamed on John Dowd could place Trump in considerable legal jeopardy if they are proven to be his statements.

‘No justice!’: Trump blasts ‘rigged system’ that ‘destroyed’ Mike Flynn in second set of wild Saturday tweets

 

 

 

 

Trump slams former US intel leaders as ‘political hacks’

President Trump on Saturday lashed out at U.S. intelligence leaders for their conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, calling them “political hacks” and slamming the investigations into Russian interference as a “Democratic hit job.”

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump blasted former U.S. intelligence officials by name, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey.

“I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks,” Trump said, according to White House pool reports. He was discussing the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election in favor of Trump.

“So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey,” he continued. “Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker.”

“So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them,” he continued, referring to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Trump said that the investigation into Russian interference in the election was a “Democratic-inspired thing” and a “pure hit job.”

Trump went on to say that he wasn’t going to “argue” with Putin about whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump said, according to pool reports.

“I can’t stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine,” he added.

Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI, have concluded that Russia did interfere in the 2016 election, and several congressional investigations are currently underway to determine the scale and scope of Russia’s interference.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is also leading an investigation into potential ties between President Trump’s election campaign and Russian officials.

Trump is in the middle of a five-nation, 12-day trip to Asia, and is currently in Vietnam. Trump participated overnight in the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang.

[The Hill]

Trump Press Secretary: Feds Should Consider Prosecuting Comey

President Trump’s top spokesperson said Tuesday that federal prosecutors should consider bringing a case against former FBI Director James Comey.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing Tuesday that it’s up to the Justice Department to prosecute Comey, but said the move “should be looked at.”

“I think if there was ever a moment where we feel someone has broken law, particularly if they are the head of the FBI, I think that’s certainly something that should be looked at,” Sanders said.

It is unusual for the White House to advise the Justice Department on what cases to examine. Sanders said that she’s “not here to ever direct DOJ into actions.”

Earlier this year, Comey testified before Congress that he arranged for his personal memos about his conversations with Trump to be shared with news outlets to ensure that a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign.

Later, news reports claimed that Comey decided against recommending Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton be prosecuted for mishandling classified information before he interviewed Clinton or other key witnesses in the case.

Both have given political ammunition to Trump and Republicans to claim that Comey abused his position as FBI director.

Trump fired Comey in May, but the move has caused enormous political problems for the White House. It is believed that special counselor Robert Mueller is looking into whether Trump fired Comey in an effort to block the investigation into possible improper contacts with Russia by people in Trump’s campaign.

Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon called Comey’s firing the biggest mistake “in modern political history” in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

“The president is proud of the decision that he made,” Sanders said. “The president was 100 percent right in firing James Comey. He knew it could be bad for him politically and felt he had an obligation to do what was right for the American people and men and women at the FBI.”

“I think there is no secret Comey, by his own self-admission, leaked privileged government information weeks before President Trump fired him. Comey testified that an FBI agent engaged in the same practice would face serious repercussions,” Sanders said. “His actions were improper. He leaked memos to [The] New York Times. He signaled he would exonerate Hillary Clinton before interviewing her. He is very happy with the decision he made.”

[The Hill]

Media

Trump Slams ‘Rigged System’ Over Claim Comey ‘Exonerated’ Clinton Before Probe Ended

President Trump on Friday slammed what he called a “rigged system” following reports that former FBI Director James Comey began drafting an “exoneration statement” for Hillary Clinton before interviewing her in connection with her private email use as secretary of state.

“Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over…and so much more. A rigged system!” Trump tweeted early Friday.

The president was referring to allegations made this week by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

In a news release Thursday, the senators said Comey began drafting the exoneration statement in April or May 2016, which was before the FBI interviewed 17 key witnesses, including Clinton herself and other top aides.

Grassley and Graham said they learned about the draft after reviewing transcripts of interviews with top Comey aides.

“According to the unredacted portions of the transcripts, it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton,” the senators said.

They added, “That was long before FBI agents finished their work. Mr. Comey even circulated an early draft statement to select members of senior FBI leadership. The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts.”

Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, was investigated by the FBI for using a private email address and server to handle classified information while serving as secretary of state.

In July 2016, Comey famously called Clinton’s email arrangement “extremely careless” though he decided against recommending criminal charges.

The transcripts in question were from interviews conducted by the Office of Special Counsel, which interviewed James Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff, and Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel of national security and cyberlaw, the senators said.

“It is unclear whether the FBI agents actually investigating the case were aware that Mr. Comey had already decided on the investigation’s outcome while their work was ongoing,” the senators wrote.

In the Wednesday letter to FBI Director Chris Wray, the two senators said they have requested all records relating to the drafting of the statement.

Comey was fired as FBI director by Trump in May amid tensions over the Russia investigation.

[Fox News]

Reality

No. If Comey redirected the investigation before it completed then that is one thing, but seeing where an investigation is headed then drafting a statement, sharing the statement with peers for feedback, all in order to prepare for one of the biggest press conferences of your career, that is another.

Smart people prepare for things.

Trump Accuses Ex-FBI Director Comey of ‘Crimes’ and Calls for Him to Be Investigated By a ‘Special Council’

President Donald Trump continued a Twitter flurry Saturday morning by accusing former FBI Director James Comey of “crimes” and demanding to know why Attorney General Jeff Sessions or a “special council” have not investigated him.

Starting bright and early Saturday morning, Trump has furiously tweeted — ten times in 2 hours — on a variety of subjects from Hillary Clinton to Obamacare.

“So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council [sic] looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?” Trump tweeted before defending his son, Donald Trump Jr. over his emails, writing: “My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!”

You can see those tweets and quite a few more below:

[Raw Story]

Reality

Donald Trump demanding investigations of his political rivals and those in law enforcement who investigated him screams that he is completely innocent.

Let’s step through each claim:

Donald Trump Jr. openly gave emails

Trump’s eldest son released the emails just minutes before The New York Times published a report detailing the contents of the emails, which show that Trump Jr. was told before the meeting that the information about Clinton was part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s presidential campaign.

Democrats are obstructionists

No, one of the parties has an idea for healthcare for this country, Democrats, and they passed it and it is called the Affordable Care Act. Republicans only want to take it away.

And just the previous week, ten Democrats put forth a plan to mend the ACA that did not involve removing 22 million Americans from healthcare coverage.

Republicans, on the other hand, made obstructionism their party identity for 8 years during the Obama Administration.

Hillary Clinton sold Russia Uranium

Clinton did not sell a uranium mine to Russia, she was Secretary of the State Department when they and, this is important, 9 total agencies signed-off on a sale of an energy company to a Canadian-based Russian subsidiary. Again, very important, she didn’t have the power to approve or reject the deal.

Hillary Clinton acid washed 33,000 emails

You can’t “acid wash” emails, that’s not a thing.

Trump Twitter-Rages About Pardons and At Media

President Donald Trump was up bright and early Saturday morning, attacking the media for reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed Trump campaign issues with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the 2016 election.

The report was based on intelligence sources, which upset the president who called it a “INTELLIGENCE LEAK,” while attacking the “Amazon Washington Post.”

No content with that, Trump then accused the New York Times of aiding “the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi” — but without providing any details.

“The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security,” Trump tweeted.

Trump later tweeted that he has “complete power” to issue pardons, writing, “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS.”

[Raw Story]

Reality

Let’s take every one of Trump’s claims and review each one and review the outright lies and falsehoods.

Comey illegally leaked classified information

Trump is repeating a false claim made by Fox News, that Comey gave classified memos to his friend to leak to the press. This was so untrue that Fox News issued a rare correction stating they were wrong. Trump is simply repeating this already debunked assertion.

New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill Al-Baghdadi

CBS thinks they were able to figure out what this was about. While Mr. Trump did not provide any evidence for his accusation, the tweet came about 20 minutes after a segment about leaks aired on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” At one point, the chyron read “NYT FOILS U.S. ATTEMPT TO TAKE OUT AL-BAGHDADI.”

So Trump was just again parroting what he saw on Fox News.

A President has complete power to pardon

Amidst the Russia investigation, Donald Trump is looking to see if he can legally pardon his family and even pardon himself.

This excellent podcast from The Brookings Institution discusses the political legitimacy and risks associated with a President going full authoritarian on his powers to pardon.

In short, a president can pardon himself except during an impeachment, has pardoned their own family in the past, and a pardon has never been overturned by the courts.

However, looking into pardoning yourself and doing things like investigating Robert Mueller, who is investigating you, gives an immediate impression that you’re guilty as hell.

Trump accuses James Comey of breaking the law — based on a misleading Fox News report

President Trump’s first day back in the office after his brief trip to Europe began, as so many do, with a flurry of tweets. It seems that Trump, as he so often does, tuned in to “Fox and Friends” on Monday morning, the show on which he made regular Monday-morning phone-in appearances prior to his entry into politics. And, as he has in the past, Trump appears to have taken information out of context to level a serious charge against a political opponent.

The relevant sequence of events goes like this. In the show’s six-o’-clock hour, it ran a segment addressing a report from the Hill about memos FBI Director James Comey wrote documenting his conversations with Trump prior to being fired.

After that segment aired, the show’s social media team tweeted a clip:

The president retweeted it — following up with thoughts of his own.

In short order, adviser Kellyanne Conway was promoting the story on ABC, calling it the real bombshell of the day (unlike that story about Donald Trump, Jr.).

It’s obvious why Trump’s team embraced this idea that Comey had leaked classified information to his friend: It reinforces the president’s prior arguments that the man he fired was the real villain in their interactions. After Comey testified on Capitol Hill, Trump suggested that the testimony was a complete vindication of himself and that Comey was “a leaker.” This charge was based on the revelation that Comey had given one of those memos about his conversations with Trump to a friend to give to the New York Times. In a later tweet, Trump set the table for his enthusiasm Monday morning, asking if Comey’s use of the memos was “totally illegal?”

The “Fox and Friends” segment begins with a snippet of Comey’s testimony. A Fox News host then summarizes:

It turns out, he may actually have broken the rules. A brand-new bombshell report accuses Comey of putting our national security at risk. According to the Hill, the former FBI director’s personal memos detailing private conversations with President Trump contained top secret information.

In the tweet, that becomes “Report accuses material James Comey leaked to a friend contained top secret information.”

If Comey gave classified information to someone without security clearance to leak to the press, it’s problematic. But that’s not what the Hill’s report says.

That report says that there were a total of seven memos prepared by Comey after his nine conversations with Trump. Four of those memos are marked as classified at the “secret” or “confidential” level, officials told the Hill.

In other words, the pool of documents looks like this.

It’s true that “the former FBI director’s personal memos detailing private conversations with President Trump contained … secret information,” as the Fox report summarizes, though not, apparently, top secret material. (The levels of classifications go “confidential,” “secret” and then “top secret.”) But the wording on that Fox report is misleading. The memos contained classified information is true when considering the memos as a group. It is not true, though, that each memo contained classified information — or, at least, it’s not true that each memo was marked as being classified.

This issue came up during Comey’s June testimony, at which point Comey made clear that the memo he gave to his friend to leak, documenting a meeting on Feb. 14 of this year, was not one that included classified material.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.): I found it very interesting that, that in the memo that you wrote after this February 14th pull-aside, you made clear that you wrote that memo in a way that was unclassified. If you affirmatively made the decision to write a memo that was unclassified, was that because you felt at some point, the facts of that meeting would have to come clean and come clear, and actually be able to be cleared in a way that could be shared with the American people?


Comey:
Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work. I need to document it and preserve it in a way, and this committee gets this but sometimes when things are classified, it tangled them up.


Warner:
Amen.


Comey:
It’s hard to share within an investigative team. You have to be careful how you handled it for good reason. If I write it such a way that doesn’t include anything of a classification, that would make it easier for to us discuss within the FBI and the government, and to hold onto it in a way that makes it accessible to us.

He also during that testimony indicated that the same didn’t hold true for all of the memos he wrote.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.): The memos that you wrote, you wrote — did you write all nine of them in a way that was designed to prevent them from needing classification?


Comey:
No. On a few of the occasions, I wrote — I sent emails to my chief of staff on some of the brief phone conversations I had. The first one was a classified briefing. Though it was in a conference room at Trump Tower, it was a classified briefing. I wrote that on a classified device. The one I started typing in the car, that was a classified laptop I started working on.

(Note that Heinrich refers to nine memos, assuming that there was one for each of Comey’s interactions with the president.)

During his testimony, Comey refers to the memo he gave to his friend in the singular — “the memo.” There’s no indication that he asked that one of the classified memos be leaked. In fact, his testimony — under oath, remember — was the opposite.

In other words, Comey asserted that the scenario looked something like this:

The tweet from “Fox and Friends” based on the Hill report is incorrect. And so, too, is Trump’s tweet. If there was classified information in the memo that Comey asked his friend to leak to the Times, that’s not yet been reported.

Which is not to say that Comey’s behavior was without concern. FBI agents sign an agreement prohibiting unauthorized disclosures of certain types of material. The Hill’s report notes that the FBI apparently considers Comey’s memos to have been government documents, not his own personal memos as he asserted on Capitol Hill. The repercussions of that aren’t clear.

This is not the first time that Trump has seen a misleading bit of information on “Fox and Friends” and made the problem worse. In March, the show looked at data on the release of prisoners from Guantanamo, which Trump then used to attack President Barack Obama. One might have thought that Trump would have learned his lesson at that point.

But it appears that the opportunity to hammer his political opponents is often too urgent in his mind to ensure that he’s doing so accurately.

[Washington Post]

Update

Fox News issued a rare correction, stating they were wrong. No retraction yet from the President of the United States of America.

1 2 3