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FBI Continues To Stonewall on British Role Against Trump

May 3, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Senate Judiciary Committee, Chaired by Chuck Grassley, held an oversight hearing today on the FBI, featuring testimony by Director James Comey. As in most hearings of this type, Comey refused to answer most questions on the grounds that he could not talk publicly about criminal or classified matters, and Senators postured in front of the cameras along established partisan lines asking questions for the camera which could not be answered. In this case, the Democrats continued to accuse Comey of fixing the elections by publicly disclosing the renewed Clinton email investigation while withholding information about the FBIs investigation of the Trump campaign for colluding with the Russians. Comey provided an impassioned defense of his actions involving Clinton, noting that metadata on Anthony Weiner’s laptop showed thousands of Clinton emails, including classified emails, from the early days of Clinton’s time in office not otherwise available to the FBI, which might be probative of Clinton’s intent (the key element to an obstruction of justice charge). From the early press coverage, Comey’s Clinton explanation and the relatively mysterious fact that nothing ultimately came of this startling metadata, trumped the Russia story.

With the exception of Grassley, the Republicans for the most part accepted the proposition that the Russians interfered in the elections. Comey told the cameras at the behest of Lindsey Graham that the Russians continued to interfere in American politics and represented the greatest threat ever to American democracy, requiring the dangerous policing of allegedly fake news now being further implemented by the Congress and undertaken by Facebook and other entities. The Republican counter to the Democrats continued to take the form of questions about the illegal unmasking of classified information concerning Michael Flynn and others.

The notable exception in this fixed process has been Senator Chuck Grassley, who has opened a specific and promising investigation of the FBI’s relationship to British agent Christopher Steele and the dodgy dossier as well as Fusion GPS, who employed Steele for opposition research on behalf of the Clinton campaign. In his opening statement today, Grassley continued to cast doubt on the intelligence community’s firm conclusion about Russian interference in the election, since it relies solely on the British dodgy dossier paid for by backers of Hillary Clinton. Grassley has asked for the details of Steele’s long-time relationship to the FBI in anti-Russian investigations and activities and details of FBI payments to Steele including the specific offer of $50,000 to continue his investigations after President Trump’s election and meetings with Steele. Obviously, these questions are directly relevant to probing Obama Administration and FBI illegalities against the Trump campaign. The FBI has so far stone-walled Grassley. Comey told Grassley today that he would clear up any confusion about these matters in a classified briefing.

Grassley has also focused on the clear conflicts of interest of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife is a Virginia political candidate funded by long-time Clinton operative Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to the tune of almost $1 million. McCabe did not recuse himself from either the Clinton email investigation or the Trump investigation.