While Trump's Attorney General William Barr oversees a probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, in which the Obama-era intelligence community has been accused of gross violations of the law - including spying and possible entrapment, fired FBI Director James Comey has been on the defensive, claiming to have "no idea what the heck" people like Barr are talking about in regards to allegations of malfeasance.
Comey's latest attempt to untarnish his image comes in the form of a Tuesday afternoon op-ed in the Washington Post, responding to Thursday allegations by the President that Comey, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI agent Peter Strock had "unsuccessfully tried to take down the wrong person."
"That's treason, Trump said at a White House event. "They couldn't win the election, and that's what happened."
Trump accuses Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and Page of "treason" pic.twitter.com/G83hiPsUKY— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) May 23, 2019
Trump's comments were backed by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who said on Sunday that statements by FBI agents investigating Trump sounded "an awful lot like a coup, and it could well be treason."
Nonsense, insists Comey - who writes of Trump in his op-ed: "We must call out his lies that the FBI was corrupt and committed treason, that we spied on the Trump campaign, and tried to defeat Donald Trump. We must constantly return to the stubborn facts."
Comey continues: "We investigated. We didn’t gather information about the campaign’s strategy. We didn’t “spy” on anyone’s campaign. We investigated to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help."
The 'investigating' - as we now know, included the FBI sending in longtime spook Stefan Halper and an FBI agent posing as Halper's assistant, who gained the trust of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos under false pretenses. Months earlier, Papadopoulos had been seeded with the rumor that Russia had negative information on Hillary Clinton by a self-described member of the Clinton Foundation.
In the words of the CIA's former counterintelligence chief James Olson "I'd call that spying."
In the words of former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, "It was entrapment."
Comey continues in his op-ed:
By late October, the investigators thought they had probable cause to get a federal court order to conduct electronic surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser named Carter Page. Page was no longer with the campaign, but there was reason to believe he was acting as an agent of the Russian government. We asked a federal judge for permission to surveil him and then we did it, all without revealing our work, despite the fact that it was late October and a leak would have been very harmful to candidate Trump. Worst deep-state conspiracy ever.
But wait, the conspiracy idea gets dumber. On Oct. 28, after agonizing deliberation over two terrible options, I concluded I had no choice but to inform Congress that we had reopened the Clinton email investigation. I judged that hiding that fact — after having told Congress repeatedly and under oath that the case was finished — would be worse than telling Congress the truth. It was a decision William Barr praised and Hillary Clinton blamed for her loss 11 days later. Strzok, alleged architect of the treasonous plot to stop Trump, drafted the letter I sent Congress.
And there’s still more to the dumbness of the conspiracy allegation. At the center of the alleged FBI “corruption” we hear so much about was the conclusion that Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to internal investigators about a disclosure to the press in late October 2016. McCabe was fired over it. And what was that disclosure? Some stop-Trump election-eve screed? No. McCabe authorized a disclosure that revealed the FBI was actively investigating the Clinton Foundation, a disclosure that was harmful to Clinton. -James Comey
Of course, McCabe reportedly authorized the self-serving leak in response to media pressure that he had gone easy on Clinton - not to harm her campaign. Meanwhile according to McCabe, a senior Obama DOJ official called him and was "very pissed off" that the FBI was still pursuing the Clinton Foundation when the DOJ had considered the case dormant.
In closing, Comey writes: "But go ahead, investigate the investigators, if you must. When those investigations are over, they will find the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations. There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that. There were just good people trying to figure out what was true, under unprecedented circumstances."