‘Prosecutors and F.B.I. agents typically investigate leaks of classified information around the time they appear in the news media, not years later…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Recent developments in the Justice Department‘s criminal probe of Obama-era FBI officials left the deep-state so rattled that it dispatched one of its top media partners, The New York Times, to wage a pre-emptive attack.
In an article/op-ed published Thursday (no-paywall link provided here), New York Times writer Adam Goldman downplayed the yet-unannounced findings concerning leaks by disgraced former FBI Director James Comey.
Based on the tone of the article, the DOJ inquiry clearly hit close to home. Immediately, the journalist deflected from the topic at hand to complain about President Donald Trump’s mean, bullying attacks on poor Comey.
So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong. Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2019.
“The timing of the investigation could raise questions about whether it was motivated at least in part by politics,” whined Goldman.
“Prosecutors and F.B.I. agents typically investigate leaks of classified information around the time they appear in the news media, not years later.”
Russian Dirt on the Dems
The leaks in question occurred in 2017, Trump’s first year in office. But only recently—with the closure of the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion last year and the appointment of Attorney General William Barr to replace swamp-timid Jeff Sessions—has Trump been at liberty to push back against the false narrative that his political adversaries painted to undermine his presidency.
That debunked conspiracy touched not only on the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and current congressional Democrats—who have long declared their intention to impeach Trump—but also revealed them to be working in tandem with corrupt members of the “resistance” embedded within both the media and the intelligence community.
Although the specific details of the DOJ’s current line of inquiry are irrelevant in the grand scheme, given the widespread culture of leaking permitted under Comey’s watch, this particular probe relates to a series of articles about a leaked Russian document.
The document, first intercepted by Dutch intelligence operatives, was a Russian analysis of an exchange between then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz—a Democratic congresswoman from Florida—and Leonard Benardo, a top official with leftist mega-donor George Soros‘s Open Society Foundation.
In the exchange, Schultz assured Bernardo that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch would help ensure that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was not charged in an FBI investigation.
The Times dutifully reported that Schultz and Bernardo had both dismissed the document as “Russian disinformation” while denying any exchange. Nonetheless, “both its existence and the collection of it were highly classified secrets,” said Goldman.
After catching wind of the Russian analysis, Comey and others in the FBI panicked that the Russians might leak it.
Comey, who allegedly had his own concerns about Lynch’s bias, suggested appointing an independent counsel into it, but Lynch shut him down.
When a secretive tarmac meeting between Lynch and former President Bill Clinton publicly compromised Lynch’s impartiality, Comey ultimately assumed final authority of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Meanwhile, despite recusing herself in Clinton’s case, Lynch never took her thumb off the scales, pressuring Comey shortly thereafter to publicly announce that he was dropping the investigation.
The Times now claims that it wrote about the whole ordeal way back in 2017, spilling all the details about the secret Russian document with an article that quoted Daniel C. Richman, Comey’s personal lawyer and Times liaison.
Around the same time, Richman also had leaked other sensitive FBI memos on Comey’s behalf to the Times in the embattled director’s bid to personally discredit newly elected President Donald Trump.
In addition to trumpeting its own under-the-radar coverage, the Times also cited a Washington Post piece that outed Wasserman Schultz and Bernardo as the secret Russian memo’s subjects.
But both reports were buried by the deluge of false RussiaGate coverage and downplayed by their respective outlets, with nothing linking them to the broader FBI conspiracy against Trump.
Those details ultimately emerged with the publication last October of Times reporter James B. Stewart’s Deep State: Trump, the FBI and the Rule of Law, among several other bombshells that the veteran journalist revealed in the book.
Tables Turned on the Deep State
While the Times seemed to see little that was “politically sensitive” in 2017 about accepting leaked information from top FBI officials in their bid to smear the president, having the tables turned back on them by the Justice Department was, evidently, beyond the pale.
“[T]he inquiry is the latest politically sensitive matter undertaken by the United States attorney’s office in Washington, which is also conducting an investigation of Mr. Comey’s former deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, that has been plagued by problems,” Goldman claimed
The article implied—without a shred of exculpatory evidence to counter what is currently being investigated—that Comey and McCabe did nothing wrong in leaking classified information to media outlets, including the Times itself.
Moreover, no evidence exists in the public record to suggest that the DOJ investigation, being led by top-notch prosecutor John Durham, has been “plagued with problems.”
Nor does the Times offer any insight into its basis for making such claims, such as where the allegations came from. Instead, it cites only “people familiar with the inquiry,” which likely means Comey and McCabe themselves.
Contrary to the Times‘s claims, the reputations and credibility of both Comey and McCabe were badly damaged following the release of reports by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz last year.
The IG reports outlined specific cases of their abuses and further concluded that McCabe had lied under oath about leaking information.
Rather than inform readers of the abuses Comey was found to have committed, Goldman chose to harp on the fact that Justice Department investigators had not chosen at the time to pursue criminal prosecution.
“Though officials retroactively determined that other memos that Mr. Comey wrote contained classified information, prosecutors declined to charge Mr. Comey with illegally disclosing the material,” the Times reporter misleadingly asserted.
However, “The Justice Department’s inspector general, who had examined Mr. Comey’s conduct and referred his findings to prosecutors in New York, concluded that Mr. Comey violated F.B.I. policy,” Goldman acknowledged.
Adding to the anxiety, said the Times is that moths after the investigation began, “it is not clear whether prosecutors have impaneled a grand jury or how many witnesses they have interviewed.”
In other words, it has been unsuccessful in cultivating any leaky sources from Durham’s office.
Deflections and Veiled Threats
Echoing criticisms made by Trump about the length and cost of the two-year-long Mueller investigation, the Times sought to use the clock to bludgeon the Justice Department’s recent efforts.
“The relatively straightforward case against Mr. McCabe has dragged on for more than 20 months,” complained Goldman. “Prosecutors have refused to tell Mr. McCabe’s lawyers whether they intend to bring charges.”
The likely reason for deferring the announcement of criminal charges is that the case was—and continues to be—an open investigation.
But that didn’t stop Goldman from invoking one of the Left’s favorite deflective tropes: Who cares if it was illegal? That’s old news!
“Typically, prosecutors would decline to open investigations into older leaks of classified information because the passage of time makes such cases much harder to pursue as the memories of witnesses fade,” Goldman informed the wayward investigators in his recent article.
“Also, the initial leaks can generate more leaks as more officials feel comfortable discussing the information with journalists because it has become public,” he seems to threaten.
Thus, the Times—which may be implicated as a key conspirator—justified telling the DOJ to call off its probe into criminal leaking since, after all, that was merely a drop in the bucket.
“Multiple news stories about the classified disclosures also make it harder to determine whether one person was speaking to reporters or several people, according to former law enforcement officials,” Goldman said.
“And the larger the universe of government officials who have been briefed on classified information, the more difficult it is to find the leaker,” he added
Like pulling on a loose thread, it may unravel more than it intended, opening the floodgates for even more deep-state resistance operatives to engage with impunity in the same criminal misconduct.
Once again, Goldman offered one last-gasp attempt to tie the investigation to political motives rather than jurisprudence.
“Justice Department officials might also be interested in making an example of Mr. Comey,” he claimed, “a development almost certain to please Mr. Trump.”
But perhaps such partisan claims in the media may help to explain why the Durham investigation has been so laborious and meticulous in its efforts to follow all the leads needed to build its case.
When the DOJ announced last year that it was expanding the probe into a criminal investigation, capable of empaneling a grand jury and indicting those it deemed worthy of prosecution, many members of the intelligence community began to sweat.
Not long afterward, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper gave a shocking interview in which he appeared to pin all of the intelligence community’s actions at the very top, saying they were following directives from then-President Barack Obama himself.
That the Times, which has long relied on leaks, is now pulling out all the stops to discredit the DOJ probe suggests that the inevitable unraveling is near, which threatens to expose the vaunted Gray Lady‘s lies, along with the many other conspirators it is trying to protect.