FLASHBACK: James Comey Pushed Back Against Trump Plan to Probe Origins of Dossier Claims

James B. Comey
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TEL AVIV — A four-page House Intelligence Committee memo released on Friday alleging abuse of surveillance authority may warrant a review of previous testimony in which former FBI Director James B. Comey admitted that he pushed back against a request from President Donald Trump to possibly investigate the origins claims made in the infamous anti-Trump dossier.

The surveillance memo, crafted by House Intelligence Committee Republicans, documents Comey signed three FISA court applications utilizing the anti-Trump dossier to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, who briefly served as a volunteer foreign policy adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The memo documents that on October 21, 2016, the FBI and Justice Department sought and received the FISA order against Page, and that the agencies sought the renewal of the order every 90 days in accordance with court requirements.  Renewals require separate finding of probable cause each time, the memo relates.

According to the memo, Comey “signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one.”

The memo relates the FBI utilized the anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele as evidence against Page in order to obtain the FISA warrant.

During his prepared remarks for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, delivered on June 8, 2017, Comey related that he pushed back against a suggestion from Trump to investigate the dossier claims.

The former FBI chief stated that following a January 6 Oval Office meeting with Intelligence Community leaders, Comey “remained alone with the President Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.”’

It is clear Comey was referring to the dossier since he writes the “salacious and unverified” material was about to be publically reported by the news media. Four days after that briefing, the dossier was published by BuzzFeed.

In his statement summarizing his conversation with Trump, Comey refers to Russian prostitutes, a key component of the dossier:

He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia.

In a private White House dinner with Trump on January 27, Comey says the topic of the “salacious material” again came up and he reveals that Trump was considering asking the FBI to investigate the origins of the claims.  Comey pushed back against that idea.

Comey writes:

During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.

According to the Republican memo, the FBI and DOJ failed to inform the FISA court of the following aspects of the dossier utilized to obtain the warrant on Page:

  • That Steele’s Dossier was reportedly funded by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) via the Perkins Coie law firm.  “Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials,” the memo states.
  • That the initial application notes Steele worked for a “named U.S. person” but does not name the controversial firm Fusion GPS or its founder Glenn Simpson.
  • That Steele reportedly met with Yahoo News at the direction of Fusion GPS.  A Yahoo News article about an alleged trip by Page to Moscow was cited in the FISA warrant, according to the memo.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Written with research by Joshua Klein.

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