Then-FBI Director James Comey held a super-secret meeting with President Obama only two weeks before President Trump’s inauguration to discuss alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Comey appears to have intentionally misled Congress about the Oval Office talks.
Comey has never informed Congress of the Jan. 5, 2016, meeting that included the FBI director, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
The meeting was revealed in an email sent by Rice to herself on Inauguration Day. It was timed just 15 minutes after President Trump took office.
Rice’s email has been partially declassified by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham.
Comey testified under oath before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on June 8, 2017, and he may have intentionally failed to disclose the encounter with Obama just before Trump took office.
“President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office,” Rice wrote in her email, which was dated the day before Trump’s inauguration.
Comey has claimed he only met with Obama two times, once in 2015 and another time “to say goodbye in late 2016,” according to his June 8 statement to Congress.
“I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016,” Comey said in his opening statement to the Senate intel committee.
Obama, Comey and the top national security officials talked about sharing information related to Russia with the incoming Trump administration.
“A person familiar with the January 5, 2017, meeting said the Obama administration wanted to know whether the FBI and others in the intelligence community believed there was a national security reason to limit conversations with the Trump transition about Russia because some of the incoming president’s team could be compromised,” CNN reported Monday.
“From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia,” Rice wrote. “The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.”
Sens. Grassley and Graham posted statements to their websites saying they “were struck by the context and timing of this email, and [they] sent a follow up letter to Ambassador Rice.”
“It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation,” the senators said to Rice.
“In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed ‘by the book,’ substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed ‘by the book,'” they said.
Sen. Graham called Rice’s Inauguration Day email to herself “odd and disturbing.”
During his appearance on “The Story With Martha MacCallum,” Graham said, “[W]e know the investigation regarding the Trump campaign was anything but by the book.”
The senator suggested Rice’s email was really an effort by Obama to “get himself on the record through Susan Rice” about his concern that the Russia investigation be “by the book.”
“It’s the oddest thing in the world to send an email to yourself on Inauguration Day about a conversation held on January 5th. … Why should he have to say that to begin with?” Graham asked as he wondered what the group had been discussing prior to the Jan. 5 meeting.
Graham said he wonders what Obama and Rice knew about the FISA warrant used to spy on Trump campaign officials and how it was granted based on a “political” dossier funded by hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
“When you look at what happened, it was an abuse of power, not ‘by the book,'” Graham said.
“Did anyone instruct, request, suggest, or imply that you should send yourself the aforementioned Inauguration Day email memorializing President Obama’s meeting with Mr. Comey about the Trump/Russia investigation?” Grassley and Graham asked Rice in their letter.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled to hear testimony from Rice on Feb. 22.
Obama has maintained that he never interfered in the Russia probe, but some of the former president’s high-profile critics point to developments that suggest otherwise.
As WND reported, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh contends that the apparent corruption of high-ranking officials in the FBI, the Justice Department and other intelligence agencies to help Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election was all about protecting Obama.
“All of this is,” Limbaugh said during his Feb. 7 show. “It was Obama that was policing, directing, informing, permitting the spying and whatever else happened to Donald Trump and his campaign.”
Limbaugh noted the revelation that a September 2016 text to FBI agent Peter Strzok from his co-worker and paramour, Lisa Page, said Obama “wants to know everything we’re doing” related to the Russia investigation.