The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs released new emails on Monday night that allegedly show that Obama administration officials coordinated with each other to help CNN run a damaging story on President-elect Donald Trump based on salacious and unverified information contained in a politically-motivated dossier financed by Trump's political enemies.
The emails, obtained by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), show that the Obama-era officials used coded language to refer to the Steele dossier. The following timeline of events and communications were in the committee's letter:
1. January 6, 2017, 9:44 a.m. FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki sent an email to unspecified recipients stating, "the director is coming into HQ briefly now for an update from the sensitive matter team."
2. January 6, 2017, afternoon. Director Comey met with President-elect Trump.
3. January 7, 2017. Director Comey memorialized his discussion with President-elect Trump via an email to senior FBI leadership. Director Comey wrote, "I said there was something that Clapper wanted me to speak to PE [President Elect] about alone or in a very small group." Director Comey wrote, "I then executed the sessions exactly as I had planned," and "I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook."
4. January 8, 2017, 12:08 p.m. Then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sent an email to senior FBI leadership with the subject line "Flood is coming." Mr. McCabe wrote, "CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story. ... The trigger for them [CNN] is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment."
5. January 8, 2017, 12:55 p.m. Mr. McCabe emailed then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and then-Principal Deputy Attorney General Matthew Axelrod with the subject line "News." Mr. McCabe wrote, "Just an FYI, and as expected, it seems CNN is close to running a story about the sensitive reporting."
Two days later on January 10, 2017, CNN ran the story about the unverified and salacious allegations made in the anti-Trump dossier with BuzzFeed publishing the dossier within a couple hours of CNN's report. The Federalist's Sean Davis writes:
To date, there is no public evidence that the FBI ever investigated the leaks to media about the briefing between Trump and Comey. When asked in a recent interview by Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier, Comey scoffed at the idea that the FBI would even need to investigate the leak of a secret briefing with the incoming president.
Clapper prompting Comey to meet with Trump to inform him of the dossier and the subsequent leaks to CNN ignited much of the Russia hysteria that dominates the media's narrative today. After the media hysteria began, Comey refused to acknowledge what he had told Trump in private multiple times, that he was not under investigation.
Comey's refusal to tell the public that Trump was not under investigation led to Trump firing him. The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway writes:
Comey’s refusal to admit publicly what he kept telling people privately led to his firing.
That led to Comey leaking multiple memos in order to get a special counsel appointed out of revenge. That special counsel has utterly distracted multiple agencies and embroiled all three branches of government at the highest levels. All over a document that was secretly funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, contracted by a Democrat research firm with ties to the Kremlin, and authored by a shady foreign spy whose relationship with the FBI was terminated because he lied to them.
The Daily Wire reported in April that Hemingway's assertion that Comey's decision to leak his memos, some of which contained classified information, out of revenge, appears to have some factual basis, as Comey told NBC's Savannah Guthrie that he had an "obvious" bias against Trump because "he fired me."