It seems like on a daily basis we’re learning a new tidbit of information that somehow makes the politicization of federal law enforcement under the previous Democrat administration even more egregious than it already was.
The Daily Caller reports that an email from former President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice has been partially declassified, and it reveals that fired FBI Director James Comey met with Obama in the Oval Office just two weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration — and hid that meeting from Congress.
Grassley/Graham release a partially redacted email sent by Susan Rice to herself on Jan. 20, 2017 — 15 minutes after Trump took office — detailing a Jan. 5 Oval Office meeting w Obama about Russian hacking: pic.twitter.com/QRnYTmOfXF
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) February 12, 2018
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It included Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Rice deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and Comey. The topic of the meeting was potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
By failing to inform the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the meeting in his June 8, 2017, testimony, Comey may have deliberately and intentionally misled Congress about his interactions with the former president, especially a meeting so close to Trump entering the White House.
“President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office,” Rice wrote in an email written the day before the inauguration.
On the surface, there’s obviously noting wrong with an FBI director and an outgoing president meeting to keep up to date on an intelligence investigation, and the text of the email itself — which Rice apparently wrote and sent to herself for record-keeping purposes — says only that Obama wanted the investigation conducted “by the book.”
But what makes this suspicious is that during his testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on June 8 of last year, Comey left this meeting out of his answer as to how many times he met with the previous president: “I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016.”
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So why not tell Congress about the meeting if it’s simply as Rice describes it? Is her account incomplete or misleading? Did Comey innocently forget the real last time he met with a former President of the United States?
That’s all definitely worth dragging Comey back in for another grilling. For now, though, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham’s questions are focused on Rice:
1. Did you send the email attached to this letter to yourself? Do you have any reason to dispute the timestamp of the email?
2. When did you first become aware of the FBI’s investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia?
3. When did you become aware of any surveillance activities, including FISA applications, undertaken by the FBI in conducting that investigation? At the time you wrote this email to yourself, were you aware of either the October 2016 FISA application for surveillance of Carter Page or the January 2017 renewal?
4. Did anyone instruct, request, suggest, or imply that you should send yourself the aforementioned Inauguration Day email memorializing President Obama’s meeting with Mr. Comey about the Trump/Russia investigation? If so, who and why?
5. Is the account of the January 5, 2017 meeting presented in your email accurate? Did you omit any other portions of the conversation?
6. Other than that email, did you document the January 5, 2017 meeting in any way, such as contemporaneous notes or a formal memo? To the best of your knowledge, did anyone else at that meeting take notes or otherwise memorialize the meeting?
7. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey or Ms. Yates mention potential press coverage of the Steele dossier? If so, what did they say?
8. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey describe the status of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, or the basis for that status?
9. When and how did you first become aware of the allegations made by Christopher Steele?
10. When and how did you first become aware that the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded Mr. Steele’s efforts?
11. You wrote that President Obama stressed that he was “not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective.” Did President Obama ask about, initiate, or instruct anything from any other perspective relating to the FBI’s investigation?
12. Did President Obama have any other meetings with Mr. Comey, Ms. Yates, or other government officials about the FBI’s investigation of allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russia? If so, when did these occur, who participated, and what was discussed?
Rice is slated to testify before the committee on February 22. Whether we get real answers or more obfuscation is another story.
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