Tsar Trump: Old & New Reports Suggest Russia Groomed Donald Trump to Lead US (Part I)
On December 20 a judge unsealed the FBI’s request for the new investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. According to Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall, the request “concedes that the FBI had no basis to conclude whether these e-mails were even pertinent to that closed investigation, were significant, or whether they had, in fact, already been reviewed prior to the closing of the investigation.” In defense of Comey an FBI agent had noted in court papers that the computer being investigated (the computer of “Carlos Danger” or Anthony Weiner) was not authorized to handle classified or national defense information; therefore it was prudent to ascertain whether it had been compromised… But even if that were true, would that be reason to bar Clinton from office? These facts seem relevant:
1) The chance of finding information that would discredit Clinton’s fitness for leadership was highly unlikely.
2) The announcement about “new emails” would predictably harm Clinton politically.
3) The FBI already held information suggesting that a President Trump would be much more likely to make decisions that threaten US security — and that those decisions, unlike the hypothetical data breach involving Clinton and Weiner, could be deliberate… For instance:
- In September the FBI had investigated Carter Page, a US oil industry businessman whom Trump regarded as a foreign policy adviser during his campaign. Page’s consulting firm specializes in profiting from Russian and Central Asian oil and gas. (Ultimately Page abandoned his role as a Trump adviser, saying that speculation about his ties to Russia were hurting the candidate. He also sent a letter to FBI director Comey requesting that the agency stop investigating his travels to Russia.)
- The FBI had investigated Paul Manafort, one of Trump’s former campaign chiefs who was found to have received $12.7 million in “off-the-book payments” from Ukraine’s Party of Regions, which is backed by Vladimir Putin. (Manafort resigned from his position as Trump’s campaign manager after this news was made public.)
- The FBI held information suggesting that Trump’s sexual activities made him vulnerable to blackmail by Russia, who had been collecting “kompromat” or compromising information about him. As an example, here is an excerpt from the best-publicized dossier:
On January 12 the Inspector General of the FBI, Michael Horowitz, announced that the agency would be undertaking an internal review of Comey’s work. He stated that concerns raised by Democrats and Republicans regarding Comey’s handling of information would be investigated.
The next day Comey met with lawmakers to address the question of investigations into Donald Trump. Following the meeting, reports emerged that it had shaken any confidence they’d had in his leadership. This related partly to information that he shared, and partly to information that he would not disclose.
Here’s an example from MSN of a House member being rattled by new data:
A number of House Democrats left Friday’s confidential briefing on Russian hacking fuming over the actions of FBI Director James Comey and convinced he’s unfit to lead the agency.
“I was nonjudgmental until the last 15 minutes. I no longer have that confidence in him,” Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said as he left the meeting in the Capitol.
“Some of the things that were revealed in this classified briefing – my confidence has been shook.”
The same article quotes other legislators who shared Walz’s reactions, as well as some who reportedly still held faith in the FBI chief. But we’re curious about such optimism in light of another issue from the meeting, that of Comey’s refusal to answer specific questions. He had previously said that he wouldn’t discuss the matter of potential Trump investigations “in a public forum” and this led lawmakers to believe he’d have more candor in their closed-door session.
One concern is that Comey reportedly refused to set forth his standards for sharing information. He also dodged the question of the “double standard,” or why he commented publicly on the question about a Clinton investigation but not about the Trump investigations.
What was Comey’s motivation?
Silence from Comey is frustrating… but where can we find chatter? Computers chat. Computers leave traces of activity. Trump Watchdogs next looked into news about:
1) Trump’s computer servers, which reportedly had connections with Russia, and
2) Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal, which gave the FBI a reason to seize his computer. Was it mere coincidence that this computer helped bring down Hillary Clinton’s campaign?
Stay tuned for Part II of “Tsar Trump” in The Watchdog Report.