- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Former FBI Director James Comey claimed Thursday that he didn’t know a basic and critical fact related to the unprecedented counterintelligence investigation into the Trump presidential campaign that he initiated and supervised. 

Asked by Fox News host Bret Baier when he had learned that the Russian dossier was funded by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee Comey replied “Yeah, I still don’t know that for a fact.” 

How is that possible?

Hillary Clinton has admitted that her campaign funded the dossier. In an interview with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central she justified the opposition research: 

TREVOR NOAH: Now, people say, ‘Hillary, is there a difference between your team paying for this opposition research and Donald Trump’s people working with the Russians to influence the election?’ Is there a difference?

HILLARY CLINTON: Of course there is. And, you know, I think most serious people understand that. This was research started by a Republican donor during the Republican primary. And then when Trump got the nomination for the Republican party, the people doing it came to my campaign lawyer and said, you know, ‘would you like us to continue it?’ and he said, yes. He’s an experienced lawyer. He knows what the law is. He knows what opposition research is. 

Clinton’s claim that the dossier was “research started by Republicans” is a complete misrepresentation of the facts, (which we will expand on in a moment) but she concedes that her campaign paid for the dossier, something that you would think the former FBI Director who oversaw this investigation would also be aware of. 

Comey then went on to claim (just as Clinton did) “I know it was funded first by Republicans.” 

“That’s not true!” responded Baier, correctly.

“My understanding was his (Christopher Steele’s) work started… as oppo research funded by Republicans,” Comey insisted.

“So Free Beacon said that they had Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS on kind of a retainer but they did not fund the Christopher Steele memo or the dossier,” Baier patiently explained to him. “That was initiated by Democrats.”

“Okay, my understanding was the activity was begun… that Steele was hired to look into… was first funded by Republicans, then… picked up by Democrats opposed to Donald Trump,” Comey replied.

This is just flat-out incorrect. 

The Washington Free Beacon’s involvement with Fusion GPS has been public knowledge since October 2017. The website’s connection with the opposition research against Trump during the primaries had absolutely nothing to do with Steele or the Russian dossier: 

All of the work that Fusion GPS provided to the Free Beacon was based on public sources, and none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier. The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele.

But this fact has not stopped Clinton loyalists and members of the media to falsely and lazily claim that the dossier was first paid for or initiated by Republicans. But it just wasn’t. 

It’s telling that Comey repeats a fabricated talking point regurgitated on a regular basis by Clinton apologists (including Clinton herself) and opponents of President Trump, but this is an important fact that Comey should have knowledge of. 

The use of the dossier as part of the unprecedented investigation into Trump’s campaign and as evidence in the FISA warrant obtained to spy on Carter Page (an informal adviser to the Trump campaign) is a critical piece of evidence shedding light on what appears to be politically motivated actions by a pro-Clinton faction at the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Comey’s ignorance of the provenance of the dossier is mind-boggling, unless he’s covering his tracks. If the dossier was a significant piece of “evidence” used by Comey and the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign, Comey’s claim that he still doesn’t know who funded the research may be his only alibi in defense of his actions in this case. 

There are only two logical conclusions one can draw from this startling revelation: Either James Comey lacks a basic understanding of a critical part of the Trump/Russia collusion investigation (an investigation he was responsible for), or he’s lying. Neither conclusion reflects well on Mr. Comey


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