Posted on Leave a comment

FNC’s Wallace GRILLS Comey on FBI’s Gross Misconduct

In one of the only instances of former FBI Director James Comey being held to some form of account for his overseeing of the bureau’s misconduct during the Russia investigation, Fox News Channel anchor Chris Wallace grilled Comey on what he knew about lies his people were telling the FISA court, his false statements to the public, and whether or not he would resign if he was still the head of the FBI.

From the get-go, Wallace was on Comey. “You have been taking something of a victory lap since the IG report was released earlier this week. The question is whether or not it’s justified,” he declared as he shared back-to-back soundbites of Comey building himself up and Department of Justice Inspector General Horowitz tearing him down (click “expand”):

ANDERSON COOPER: Do you think this is vindication?

JAMES COMEY: It is. I mean, the FBI’s had to wait two years while the President and his followers lied about the institution. Finally the truth gets told.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Does your report vindicate Mr. Comey?

DOJ IG MICHAEL HOROWITZ: It doesn’t vindicate anyone at the FBI who touched this, including the leadership.

The IG says you should feel no vindication,” Wallace reiterated. “Well, maybe it turns upon how we understand the word,” Comey argued as he began making excuses.

Wallace then pressed Comey on the 17 instances of misinformation the FBI peddled to the FISA court. Again, he showed a set of Comey vs Horowitz soundbites:

COMEY: I have total confidence that the FISA process was followed and that the entire case was handled in a thoughtful, responsible way by DOJ and the FBI.

HOROWITZ: We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications, seven in the first application, and a total of 17 by the final renewal application.

Seventeen significant errors in the FISA process and you say that it was handled in a thoughtful and appropriate way,” Wallace chided. Comey suggested he was simply “overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years.” Wallace would interject by noting, “But you make it sound like you’re a bystander, an eyewitness. You were the director of the FBI while a lot of this was going on, sir.

 

 

Next up was their argument about FBI’s strong reliance on the debunked Steele dossier and their use of it to get FISA warrants to spy on a Trump campaign staffer Carter Page (Click “expand”):

WALLACE: Horowitz says it wasn’t part — as you told Bret Baier — it wasn’t part of a broader mosaic. He said it played an essential role in establishing probable cause. In fact, he says, if it hadn’t been for the Steele dossier, the FBI probably would haven’t even submitted a FISA application — that it had been reviewed in April of 2016 — or August, rather, of 2016 — they decided not to do it. They get the Steele dossier. They do it. It wasn’t part of a broader mosaic. That’s what you said, sir.

COMEY: I’m not sure he and I are saying different things.

After a mind-numbing back and forth where Comey suggested he didn’t understand the difference between claiming the dossier was part of a broad mosaic and the central/essential piece of evidence, Wallace pressed for answers as to why the FBI continued to push for more warrants to spy on Page when they knew the dossier was bunk (click “expand”):

WALLACE: All right. Then there is the issue of how reliable the Steele dossier, in fact, was. On January 6th, 2017, in the Trump Tower, you briefed Donald Trump — president-elect — about the Steele dossier. That same month, the FBI talks to Steele’s main Russian contact — the main person on whom he based the dossier, who says, according to the IG report — quote — “Steele misstated or exaggerated the primary sub-source’s statements in multiple sections of the reporting.” Director Comey, not only do you fail to go back to the president-elect — or president, after January 20th — and tell him, “Oh, you know that report I briefed you on? Turns out it’s bunk” — but the FBI goes back and renews its FISA application three more times. And by this point, the FBI knows that the Steele reporting is not credible.

Hitting on the same point, Wallace called out Comey for his agents lying to the FISA court by omitting the fact Page was running to the CIA whenever he was contacted by Russians. “But you never tell the FISA court that. And in fact, in 2017, an FBI lawyer doctors a document. The CIA said, ‘Oh, Carter Page, he’s a source.’ And he puts in the application he’s not a source,” Wallace exclaimed.

When Comey tried to argue that none of his agents were ever accused of misconduct, Wallace cut him off and noted, “In the case of Kevin Clinesmith, he has referred it for criminal investigation.” Comey said that the case didn’t count because the case was still being worked out.

Despite the facts, Comey kept insisting he was vindicated and there was no serious misconduct under his watch. But Wallace cornered him on the fact that Horowitz, in his testimony before Senate, said the FBI did what they did because of “gross negligence or they intended to do it. They intended to lie to the FISA court.” “You were in charge during a lot of this, sir,” Wallace poked.

Following an argument about what the IG had said (despite the fact there was a video of him saying it), Wallace got Comey to admit he wouldn’t resign despite the misconduct under his watch. It was the toughest interview Comey had received since the release of the IG report. It’s likely the toughest he’ll have for a while since the liberal media keep lying about what the misconduct IG found.

The transcript is below, click “expand’ to read:

Fox News Channel’s Fox News Sunday
December 15, 2019
9:04:36 a.m. Eastern

CHRIS WALLACE: You have been taking something of a victory lap since the IG report was released earlier this week. The question is whether or not it’s justified. Here are you and the inspector general, Michael Horowitz answering the same question.

[Cuts to video]

ANDERSON COOPER: Do you think this is vindication?

JAMES COMEY: It is. I mean, the FBI’s had to wait two years while the President and his followers lied about the institution. Finally the truth gets told.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Does your report vindicate Mr. Comey?

DOJ IG MICHAEL HOROWITZ: It doesn’t vindicate anyone at the FBI who touched this, including the leadership.

[Cuts back to live]

WALLACE: The IG says you should feel no vindication.

COMEY: Well, maybe it turns upon how we understand the word.

(…)

WALLACE: Well, sloppiness may be a euphemism for what it is he found. One of his big concerns is the way the FBI handled the FISA applications and the warrants that you were — allowed you to surveil Carter Page, who was a former foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign. Again, here is what you said about the FISA process and what the inspector general Horowitz said this week. Take a look.

[Cuts to video]

COMEY: I have total confidence that the FISA process was followed and that the entire case was handled in a thoughtful, responsible way by DOJ and the FBI.

HOROWITZ: We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications, seven in the first application, and a total of 17 by the final renewal application.

[Cuts back to live]

WALLACE: Seventeen significant errors in the FISA process and you say that it was handled in a thoughtful and appropriate way.

COMEY: He’s right. I was wrong. I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years.

(…)

WALLACE: But you make it sound like you’re a bystander, an eyewitness. You were the director of the FBI while a lot of this was going on, sir.

(…)

WALLACE: One of the central issues is the role that the Steele dossier played which was oppo-research paid for by the Democrats, what role it played in getting the FISA warrants to surveil Page.

(…)

WALLACE: Horowitz says it wasn’t part — as you told Bret Baier — it wasn’t part of a broader mosaic. He said it played an essential role in establishing probable cause. In fact, he says, if it hadn’t been for the Steele dossier, the FBI probably would haven’t even submitted a FISA application — that it had been reviewed in April of 2016 — or August, rather, of 2016 — they decided not to do it. They get the Steele dossier. They do it. It wasn’t part of a broader mosaic. That’s what you said, sir.

COMEY: I’m not sure he and I are saying different things.

(…)

COMEY: Yeah. And I agree with his characterization. I’m just confused — I no — I don’t see the disconnect between the two of us. And I’m sorry that I’m missing it.

WALLACE: Well, you don’t see a difference between “It’s part of a broader mosaic” and “It was the — it played an essential role in establishing probable cause?”

COMEY: It was one of a bunch of different facts that were assembled to apply to the court. It was the one that convinced the lawyers that they had enough now, with that added to the pile, to go forward.

WALLACE: I guess the question is, it seemed that you were minimizing the role of the Steele Dossier, and he’s saying it’s a lot more important than you let on.

COMEY: Okay. If I was, then I’m sorry that I did that. But I meant it was one part of the presentation to the court. It was not a huge part of the presentation to the court, but it was the fact, according to his report, that convinced the lawyers to go forward.

(…)

WALLACE: All right. Then there is the issue of how reliable the Steele dossier, in fact, was. On January 6th, 2017, in the Trump Tower, you briefed Donald Trump — president-elect — about the Steele dossier. That same month, the FBI talks to Steele’s main Russian contact — the main person on whom he based the dossier, who says, according to the IG report — quote — “Steele misstated or exaggerated the primary sub-source’s statements in multiple sections of the reporting.” Director Comey, not only do you fail to go back to the president-elect — or president, after January 20th — and tell him, “Oh, you know that report I briefed you on? Turns out it’s bunk” — but the FBI goes back and renews its FISA application three more times. And by this point, the FBI knows that the Steele reporting is not credible.

(…)

WALLACE: Chris Wallace: All right. And then there is — best for last — the worst misconduct. In August of 2016, just two weeks into the investigation, the CIA tells the FBI that it actually has a relationship with Carter Page — that when he has these meetings with the Russians, he actually goes back and he tells the CIA about it. But you never tell the FISA court that. And in fact, in 2017, an FBI lawyer doctors a document. The CIA said, “Oh, Carter Page, he’s a source.” And he puts in the application he’s not a source.

COMEY: Yeah, I’ve got to take issue with one of the — I’ll answer the question — but one of the predications of your question. The Inspector General did not find misconduct by any FBI people. He found mistakes and negligence in oversight —

WALLACE: No, no, no. It is not true —

COMEY: He did not —

WALLACE: In the case of Kevin Clinesmith, he has referred it for criminal investigation.

COMEY: Right. But that’s not been resolved, this business with the lawyer changing some email to a partner on the team.

WALLACE: I mean, you make it sound like it’s not much.

COMEY: No. No. It’s very important.

WALLACE: It’s quite a lot.

COMEY: It’s very important.

WALLACE: I mean, not a source — a source to not a source is a big deal.

COMEY: But remember how we got here. The FBI was accused of criminal misconduct. Remember, I was going to jail, and lots of other people were going to jail. People on this network said it over, and over, and over again.

(…)

WALLACE: Gross negligence or they intended to do it. They intended to lie to the FISA court. You were in charge during a lot of this, sir.

COMEY: He —

WALLACE: And in fact, you signed the FISA applications.

COMEY: Sure. I think I signed at least two or three of them. He doesn’t conclude that there was intentional misconduct by these career special agents.

WALLACE: No. He just says it’s one of two things, and he can’t decide: gross negligence or it was intentional misconduct.

COMEY: Well, I’ve read —

WALLACE: That’s what he said.

COMEY: I’ve read his report. He says, “I — we are not concluding that there was intentional misconduct by FBI officials.”

WALLACE: Did you hear what he just said here?

COMEY: I did. I don’t know the context of that. I’ve —

WALLACE: He was asked specifically, “How do you explain it?” And he said, “Gross negligence or intentionality.”

COMEY: Yeah. Well, I’m sorry. He doesn’t find intentionality, but that doesn’t make it any less important. As director, you are responsible for this. I was responsible for this. And if I were still there, I’d be doing what Chris Wray is doing — is figuring out, “So, how did this happen? And is it systemic?” Because that’s the scariest thought, is that —

WALLACE: If you were still there, and all of this came out, and it turned out it happened on your watch, would you resign?

COMEY: No. I don’t think so.

(…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *