It’s late on Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend, who wants to read about more stories about Russia tampering in the 2016 election? Well, this report from CNN actually contains some new and surprising information surrounding then-FBI Director James Comey’s decision in July of 2016 to go public and hold the infamous press conference in which he simultaneously berated and exonerated Hillary Clinton concerning her private email server while she was Secretary of State.
Here’s the background on all this from CNN:
Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email was fake — created by Russian intelligence — but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process.
As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over — without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch — while at the same time stating that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information. His press conference caused a firestorm of controversy and drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
Comey’s actions based on what he knew was Russian disinformation offer a stark example of the way Russian interference impacted the decisions of the highest-level US officials during the 2016 campaign.
The piece of “intelligence” in question was apparently fabricated emails between the former DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
The Russian intelligence at issue purported to show that then-Attorney General Lynch had been compromised in the Clinton investigation. The intelligence described emails between then-Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a political operative suggesting that Lynch would make the FBI investigation of Clinton go away.
In classified sessions with members of Congress several months ago, Comey described those emails in the Russian claim and expressed his concern that this Russian information could “drop” and that would undermine the Clinton investigation and the Justice Department in general, according to one government official.
Comey’s fear was that this information would get leaked to the public and would completely undermine the investigation. So, he went public before this “intel” could leak to try and prevent that from happening.
This is some of the first real evidence we’re getting word of concerning how Russia was involved with attempts to hurt the Clinton campaign. Creating false reports of more leaked emails and spreading them around would have been something that fit into the narrative considering all the leaked Podesta emails that were already coming out.
What’s more alarming is that Russia still to this day is attempting to interfere with the ongoing investigation:
Multiple US officials tell CNN that to this day Russia is trying to spread false information in the US — through elected officials and American intelligence and law enforcement operatives — in order to cloud and confuse ongoing investigations.
Missing from this new CNN report is any tie back to the Trump campaign as it appears that Russia was simply acting on its own out of dislike for the Clintons, not necessarily with any coordination or communication with Trump associates. However, the investigation is still ongoing so we don’t know if that’s true or not.
The web is tangled, and I highly doubt we’re ever going to know, as the general public, where all the leads will end and what’s fake and what’s real.
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!