With the country's attention focused on James Comey's
book publicity gala interview with ABC at 10pm ET, the former FBI Director has thrown former President Obama and his Attorney General Loretta Lynch under the bus, claiming they "jeopardized" the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Comey called out Obama and Lynch in his new book, A Higher Loyalty, set to come out on Tuesday. In it, he defends the FBI's top brass and counterintelligence investigators charged with probing Clinton's use of a private email server and mishandling of classified information, reports the Washington Examiner, which received an advanced copy.
“I never heard anyone on our team — not one — take a position that seemed driven by their personal political motivations. And more than that: I never heard an argument or observation I thought came from a political bias. Never ... Instead we debated, argued, listened, reflected, agonized, played devil’s advocate, and even found opportunities to laugh as we hashed out major decisions.
("Guys, LMAO, we totally just exonerated Hillary! My sides! Hey Andy, how's Jill's Senate race going?")
Comey says that multiple public statements made by Obama about the investigation "jeopardized" the credibility of the FBI investigation - seemingly absolving Clinton of any crime before FBI investigators were able to complete their work.
“Contributing to this problem, regrettably, was President Obama. He had jeopardized the Department of Justice’s credibility in the investigation by saying in a 60 Minutes interview on Oct. 11, 2015, that Clinton’s email use was “a mistake” that had not endangered national security,” Comey writes. “Then on Fox News on April 10, 2016, he said that Clinton may have been careless but did not do anything to intentionally harm national security, suggesting that the case involved overclassification of material in the government.”
“President Obama is a very smart man who understands the law very well. To this day, I don’t know why he spoke about the case publicly and seemed to absolve her before a final determination was made. If the president had already decided the matter, an outside observer could reasonably wonder, how on earth could his Department of Justice do anything other than follow his lead.” -Washington Examiner
Of course, Comey had already begun drafting Clinton's exoneration before even interviewing her, something which appears to have been "forgotten" in his book.
“The truth was that the president — as far as I knew, anyway — he had only as much information as anyone following it in the media. He had not been briefed on our work at all. And if he was following the media, he knew nothing, because there had been no leaks at all up until that point. But, his comments still set all of us up for corrosive attacks if the case were completed with no charges brought.”
"Matter" not "Investigation"
Comey also describes a September 2015 meeting with AG Lynch in which she asked him to describe the Clinton email investigation as a "matter" instead of an investigation.
“It occurred to me in the moment that this issue of semantics was strikingly similar to the fight the Clinton campaign had waged against The New York Times in July. Ever since then, the Clinton team had been employing a variety of euphemisms to avoid using the word ‘investigation,’” Comey writes.
“The attorney general seemed to be directing me to align with the Clinton campaign strategy. Her “just do it” response to my question indicated that she had no legal or procedural justification for her request, at least not one grounded in our practices or traditions. Otherwise, I assume, she would have said so.
Comey said others present in the meeting with Lynch thought her request was odd and political as well - including one of the DOJ's senior leaders.
“I know the FBI attendees at our meeting saw her request as overtly political when we talked about it afterward. So did at least one of Lynch’s senior leaders. George Toscas, then the number-three person in the department’s National Security Division and someone I liked, smiled at the FBI team as we filed out, saying sarcastically, ‘Well you are the Federal Bureau of Matters,’” Comey recalled.
That said, Comey "didn't see any instance when Attorney General Lynch interfered with the conduct of the investigation," writing "Though I had been concerned about her direction to me at that point, I saw no indication afterward that she had any contact with the investigators or prosecutors on the case."
In response, Loretta Lynch promptly issued a statement in which she said that if James Comey "had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did."
Statement from former AG Loretta Lynch on Comey pic.twitter.com/w9lRIT0dwS— Laura Jarrett (@LauraAJarrett) April 15, 2018
As we reported earlier, President Trump slammed Comey in several Saturday morning tweets - calling him a "slime ball" and a liar, and the "worst FBI director in history", intent on exacting his revenge for being unceremoniously fired.
To start off his morning tirade, Trump lashed out at Comey for his stunning admission that the he might have behaved differently toward Clinton if her polling numbers weren't as strong, and that Comey may not have reopened the Hillary probe if he thought she could lose.
Trump notes - correctly according to Comey's own statement - that the FBI director's admission shows that he was making decisions during the investigation based on whether he believed Clinton would win.
Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
According to excerpts of his memo leaked to the mainstream media, Comey admitted that he publicly revealed the reopening of the FBI's probe into Clinton's mishandling of classified information partly because he feared that, once she won, her critics would have grounds to question the legitimacy of her presidency, as we pointed out on Friday.
Trump then points out that Comey offered no explanations for the bureau's most questionable behavior, including the DNC's refusal to let the FBI examine its email server after Wikileaks released a trove of hacked emails, as well as the $700,000 campaign contribution received by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe's wife from an ally of the Clintons.
The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
But hey, according to Comey - it was Obama and Lynch who complicated "matters" with the investigation. The "boyscoutish" former FBI Director could do no wrong. Just make sure to buy Comey's book to know for "sure."