Thursday, June 8, 2017

Leaky, Leaky

After Comey's testimony (transcript) (alternate) that a New York Times column leaked faulty information*, we should be reminded to be careful about accepting their leaks (or anyone's I guess), but...
Few Republicans were quicker to embrace President Trump’s campaign last year than Jeff Sessions, and his reward was one of the most prestigious jobs in America. But more than four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown sour on Mr. Sessions, now his attorney general, blaming him for various troubles that have plagued the White House.


In private, the president’s exasperation has been even sharper. He has intermittently fumed for months over Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal conversations. In Mr. Trump’s view, they said, it was that recusal that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel who took over the investigation.


The frustration over the travel ban might be a momentary episode were it not for the deeper resentment Mr. Trump feels toward Mr. Sessions, according to people close to the president. When Mr. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Mr. Trump learned about it only when he was in the middle of another event, and he publicly questioned the decision.

A senior administration official said Mr. Trump has not stopped burning about the decision, in occasional spurts, toward Mr. Sessions.


Mr. Trump felt blindsided by Mr. Sessions’s decision and unleashed his fury at aides in the Oval Office the next day, according to four people familiar with the event.

Doesn't seem like old Jeff had any choice.
As Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) noted, Comey first made this assertion in his seven-page-long written testimony, which was released a day before his blockbuster in-person appearance. In that prepared statement, Comey said he immediately briefed his FBI leadership team after President Donald Trump requested he drop the investigation into Trump’s freshly ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in a one-on-one White House meeting on Feb. 14. The officials agreed not to notify Sessions because they expected he “would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations,” per Comey’s prepared statement.


“We also were aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an open setting, that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic and so we were—we were convinced and in fact, I think we had already heard that the career people [at the Justice Department] were recommending that he recuse himself, that he was not going to be in contact with Russia related matters much longer.”

“That turned out to be the case,” he added.

What can't he say about Sessions in open testimony?

 * New York Times article testimony:
RISCH: I remember, you talked with us shortly after February 14th, when the "New York Times" wrote an article that suggested that the trump campaign was colluding with the Russians. Do you remember reading that article when it first came out?

COMEY: I do, it was about allegedly extensive electronic surveillance in their communications.

RISCH: Correct. That upset you to the point where you surveyed the intelligence community to see whether you were missing something in that. Is that correct?

COMEY: That's correct. I want to be careful in open setting, but --

RISCH: I'm not going to go any further than that, so thank you. In addition to that, after that, you sought out both Republican and Democrat senators to tell them that, hey, I don't know where this is coming from, but this is not the case. This is not factual. Do you recall that?


RISCH: Okay. So again, so the American people can understand this, that report by the "New York Times" was not true. Is that a fair statement?

COMEY: In the main, it was not true. And again, all of you know this. Maybe the American people don't. The challenge, and I'm not picking on reporters about writing stories about classified information, is the people talking about it often don't really know what's going on, and going on are not talking about it. We don't call the press to say, hey, you don't that thing wrong about the sensitive topic. We have to leave it there.

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