Archive for the ‘Comey and Trump’ category

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More!

December 7, 2017

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More! Judicial Watch via YouTube, December 5, 2017

 

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish

December 5, 2017

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish, Washington Times, December 4, 2017

James Comey. (Associated Press) ** FILE

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Robert Mueller has the heart of a Las Vegas hooker and the guile of a New Orleans stripper. Not to push the metaphor too far, he’s skilled at showing a little skin in a cloud of satin and lace, but never quite comes across with what the customer is paying for.

Mr. Mueller, held up by his fellow Blackstones as a model of lawyerly rectitude, teased everyone last week that after testing his prowess to the limit, he had hooked a mighty tuna. His hallelujah chorus in the media celebrated the hundred-pound monster, but overnight it melted into a two-inch goldfish.

The special prosecutor might yet get the last laugh. He may yet land the promised tuna if there’s actually one out there in the briny deep. So far he’s coming up with nothing but net. The Associated Press, which has never been accused of giving Republicans a break, called the arrest “lots of smoke, but no smoking gun.” The “lots of smoke” looked as the new week began as merely a thin tuft of smoke, or more likely a wisp of fog.

The president’s sharpest detractors, agreed CNBC News, among the most fervent of those detractors, have so far been unable to find evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with, or was even aware of, Russian efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats figure that since the tuna turned out to be a goldfish, it’s time to resurrect something dead from the recent past. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose Senate seat has been getting a little warm, resurrected a notion discarded earlier that Mr. Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as director of the FBI. Mr. Comey is best buds with Robert Mueller, who has never given up trying to rehabilitate Mr. Comey from goat to grandee. Only last week Mr. Comey himself took a turn as Bible scholar, attempting to apply a verse from the Book of Amos (5:24) — “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” — to Mr. Mueller’s search for a crime. A Bible verse in the hands of a novice can be like a child with a gun.

Alan Dershowitz thinks the idea that the president, by sacking Mr. Comey, obstructed justice is nonsense. Mr. Dershowitz, the distinguished law professor at Harvard, warned Mrs. Feinstein and Democrats who are trying to build a case that the president obstructed justice that they’re wasting their time.

“You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate. That’s what Thomas Jefferson did, that’s what Lincoln did, that’s what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that.”

The president’s tweets are making trouble for him again. Some Democrats, eager for something, anything, to hang their hats on, argue that Mr. Trump’s tweet on Sunday “suggested” that the president knew former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI, and that implies obstruction of justice. Or it might only be that these Democrats inferred that that’s what the president did. They should study the difference. A desperate Democrat might infer a lot of fake stuff. To pursue a president for obstruction would ultimately require that “clearly illegal acts” would have to have been committed.

This is what some of Mr. Trump’s pursuers would call mere technicalities in the law. Destroying Donald Trump is of such transcendent purpose, the goal of every right-thinking American, that anything goes. Ask any never-Trumper. What does the Constitution have to do with it, anyway? Six and seven decades of drinking the poison that the Constitution is only “a living document,” subject to reinterpretation to fit any theory of the law, has done great damage.

The Flynn episode might be the needed tutorial in constitutional law. Lawyer and layman alike can learn something useful. Alan Dershowitz thinks Mr. Trump’s lawyers should learn something, too. Legally speaking, he says, Mr. Flynn was “up for sale,” and his “credibility is worthless” since he has been credibly accused of perjury.

“I think the administration is not aggressive enough with [Mr.] Mueller,” Mr. Dershowitz told Laura Ingraham of Fox News last week. “They should be in court challenging what he has been doing. He is going far beyond any possible scope of his investigation.”

The president’s lawyers could be challenging subpoenas, and who are called as witnesses. An investigation, whether called for or not, should be done with a semblance of fairness or it will invite a generation of vipers to do their evil work. If Donald Trump is half as bad as the Democrats say he is, Robert Mueller does not need a railroad to get to where he’s trying to go.

• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

Printing The Legend: The Growing Gap Between Comey’s Image and Actions

July 12, 2017

Printing The Legend: The Growing Gap Between Comey’s Image and Actions, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, July 12, 2017

(The media created the false Comey legend. Having created it, the media continued to rely on it, along with the false legend it created about Trump. — DM) 

In one of my favorite Westerns, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” Jimmy Stewart reveals to a reporter that he was not the man who killed villain Liberty Valance — a legend that transformed him from a perceived coward to an inspiration hero and resulted in his being elected U.S. senator and ambassador to Great Britain. The seasoned reporter listens to the whole story, but in the end says that he will not print it.

He states the rule simply as “[w]hen the legend becomes fact…print the legend.” In many ways, James Comey is the Jimmy Stewart of the media production of “The Man Who Shot Lying Trump.” From the outset, reporters and Democrats (who had been calling for Comey’s firing or questioning his judgment) declared him to be the man who fearlessly stood up to a president demanding loyalty pledges and discarding legal and ethical standards.

It seems that in both Westerns and politics, you print the legend.

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Below is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the curious coverage surrounding James Comey and his leaking of his memos on meetings with President Donald Trump.  With the confirmation hearings of Comey’s replacement, Chris Wray, today, the status of the memos may come up in the Senate.

Here is the column:

In one of my favorite Westerns, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” Jimmy Stewart reveals to a reporter that he was not the man who killed villain Liberty Valance — a legend that transformed him from a perceived coward to an inspiration hero and resulted in his being elected U.S. senator and ambassador to Great Britain. The seasoned reporter listens to the whole story, but in the end says that he will not print it.

He states the rule simply as “[w]hen the legend becomes fact…print the legend.” In many ways, James Comey is the Jimmy Stewart of the media production of “The Man Who Shot Lying Trump.” From the outset, reporters and Democrats (who had been calling for Comey’s firing or questioning his judgment) declared him to be the man who fearlessly stood up to a president demanding loyalty pledges and discarding legal and ethical standards.

The problem with that narrative is not the criticism of the actions of President Trump, but the consistent efforts to ignore the equally troubling actions of former FBI Director Comey. Yet, if Trump was to be the irredeemable villain, Comey had to be the immaculate hero. The script glitch centered on three allegations — all of which were actively denied by legal experts. First, Comey leaked memos of his meetings with Trump. Second, those memos constituted government material. Third, the memos were likely classified on some level.

Yes, the memos were leaked.

As I previously wrote, various legal experts went on the air on CNN and other cable news programs to dismiss the allegation (that a few of us printed) that Comey “leaked” his now famous memos detailing meetings with the president. Experts declared that leaks by definition only involve classified information — a facially ridiculous position that was widely stated with complete authority. Whether someone is prosecuted for a leak is a different question but a leak is the release of nonpublic information, not just classified information. University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Claire Finkelstein, CNN Legal Analyst Michael Zeldin, Fordham Law Professor Jed Shugerman, and others dismissed the notion that such memos could be deemed “leaks.”

Comey was a leaker, and he leaked for the oldest of motivations in Washington: to protect himself and hurt his opponents. Comey knew he would be called before the Congress and that these memos would be demanded by both his own former investigators as well as congressional investigators. That could have happened in a matter of days but Comey decided to use a friend to leak the content of the memos to the media (after giving the memos to his friend). In doing so, Comey took control of the media narrative and was lionized by the media.

Recently, the Senate Homeland Security Committee released a majority report that correctly referenced the Comey “leaks.” The report detailed a massive increase in leaks against the Trump administration but highlighted the leak by Comey. What makes that reference most troubling is that Comey was the person with the responsibility to find the leakers in the Trump administration. Yet, after the president expressly asked him to find leakers, Comey became a leaker himself. Moreover, as FBI director, Comey showed no particular sympathy to leakers and his department advanced the most extreme definitions of what constituted FBI information.

Yes, the memos were government property.

When some of us noted that these memos clearly fell within the definition of FBI information and thus they were ostensibly government (not private) property, there was again a chorus of experts dismissing such allegations against Comey. Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent assured CNN that these constitute merely “personal recollections” and would not fall into the definition of government material. Others joined in on the theme that these were like a “personal diary” and thus entirely his private property. Obviously, removing FBI material would not be a reaffirming moment for the Beltway’s lone, lanky hero. But that is what he did.

All FBI agents sign a statement affirming that “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America” and that an agent “will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.”

These were memos prepared on an FBI computer about a meeting on an FBI investigation with the president of the United States in the Oval Office and other locations. The contents were important enough that Comey immediately shared them with his highest management team and consulted on how to deal with the information.

The FBI has now reportedly confirmed that the memos were indeed government property. The Hill, quoting “officials familiar with the documents,” has reported that the FBI has told the Congress that these memos are indeed government documents.

Yes, the memos were classified.

If Comey did leak government property, a third issue was whether the information was considered classified. Once again, the classified status does not determine if this was a leak (it was) or if it was government information (it was). However, many experts insisted that the material was clearly unclassified.

Comey’s representation of the unclassified status struck me as highly questionable at the time. I noted that the information would have likely been classified on some level, including “confidential” under governing standards. Moreover, FBI employees are not given free license (or sole authority) to write things in an “unclassified fashion.” That is why there are classification reviews. Information coming out of meetings with the president are routinely classified, let alone information deemed material to pending investigations.

As I noted earlier, the standards that Comey enforced as director belied his own account. The FBI restricts material generated in relation to investigations as “FBI information.” FBI rules cover any “documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated.” Under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI routinely claims this type of information as either classified or privileged or both.

Comey however repeatedly assured the Senate that there was nothing classified or privileged in the memos. In an exchange with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Comey said, “Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work. I need to document it and preserve it in a way — and — and this committee gets this, but sometimes when things are classified, it tangles them up. It’s hard…” Then Warner interrupted to say, “Amen.”

However, the issue was not the writing of the memos but their removal from the FBI and their leaking to the media. There is a reason why “sometimes when things are classified, it tangles them up.” It is called classification review. That does not give you license to transfer the information into a separate document and declare it a “Dear Diary” entry. That is a loose interpretation that Comey as FBI director never afforded to his subordinates and it would effectively gut the rules governing privileged and classified information.

Not surprisingly, The Hill reported that indeed the memos have been declared classified by the FBI. The newspaper maintains that four of the memos had markings indicating they contained classified material at the “secret” or “confidential” level. It is not clear whether the memos leaked to Comey’s friend and then the media included these memos or contained classified or privileged information.  However, the finding shows that Comey was wrong in claiming that he wrote the memos to avoid any classified information and the removal of the classified memos constitutes a violation of federal rules and FBI protocols.

None of this takes away from the seriousness of Comey’s allegation or the need to investigate possible obstruction of justice. However, it does raise serious questions about own Comey’s judgment and the legality of his actions. Yet, the coverage on these findings has largely been crickets.

It is much like that final scene in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”? After Jimmy Stewart unburdened himself that he was a fraudulent hero, he boarded the train back to Washington and thanked the conductor for his kindness. The conductor simply responded, “Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance!”

It seems that in both Westerns and politics, you print the legend.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He was cited in the Senate Homeland Security Committee report on media leaks during the Trump administration.

The views expressed by contributors are their own ad are not the views of The Hill.

Congressional Hearings and Witch-Hunts

June 13, 2017

Congressional Hearings and Witch-Hunts, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, June 13, 2017

America’s longest running soap opera is not General Hospital. It’s the Congressional Hearing, usually a venue for pontificating, show-boating, histrionics, preening for the cameras, insulting political enemies, and accomplishing little of value. Meanwhile the real work of the Republic either gets neglected or proceeds in silence at a glacial pace.

James Comey was the star of last week’s latest episode of the eternal DC soap. The one-time FBI director stayed true to his character, preening morally, striking Boy Scout poses, indulging faux-folksy interjections like “Lordy,” pretending to be sober and judicious, but all the while revealing the instincts of a bureaucratic cartel sicaria. He was obviously thirsting for revenge against the hated DC outsider and “liar” who unceremoniously fired him, so much so that he admitted to cowardice on multiple occasions, from failing to immediately confront Trump over his supposed sinister “direction” (Comey’s translation of Trump’s “hope”) that Mike Flynn get let off the hook; to his groveling obedience to AG Loretta Lynch’s politicized, justice-obstructing order to call the investigation into Hillary Clinton a “matter.” He displayed a brazen arrogance in admitting to leaking a memo, written in his professional capacity, to the New York Times through a cut-out, perhaps one of numerous other leaks emanating from this self-proclaimed pillar of professional rectitude even before he was fired.

So we got a few more details about a man we already knew was a publicity hound and power -hungry operator. But that portrait was painted back in July of last year, when Comey publicly laid out the predicates for an indictment of Hillary Clinton, then usurped the authority of the AG to let Hillary (and Loretta “Tarmac” Lynch) off the hook based on a legally irrelevant consideration of “intent.” The only thing interesting last week was watching how far Comey would debase himself to square the many duplicitous circles he had spun over the last few years.

Great fun for political junkies, but what useful purpose will be served by that spectacle? The media are happy, since they get free programming and more chum for their talking heads. They’re celebrating the 19 million viewers who supposedly tuned in, though that sum represents a little more than 10% of registered voters. Normal citizens were working their jobs and tending to their lives. From their perspective, the drama inside the Beltway cocoon is bureaucratic white noise. If they think about it at all, it’s to wonder whether the guilty leakers will be hunted down and punished, or just be “investigated” for months and months and then, like Hillary, given a pass. And Hillary is just one of numerous miscreants that need exposing and punishing for their corruption of the public trust in order to serve their political preferences or careerist ambitions.

Don’t hold your breath. More likely we’ll see a repeat of the 2003 Valery Plame inquisition, that ginned-up crisis about the illegal “exposure” of an alleged “covert” CIA agent. By the time it was all finished, Comey’s buddy Patrick Fitzgerald who, despite knowing the true identity of the leaker, like some low-rent Javert for three years hounded White House staffers until Lewis “Scooter” Libby was questionably convicted of four crimes. So fat chance the biggest offender of all, Hillary Clinton, will ever answer for putting national security at risk and treating the State Department like an ATM. Some small-fry staffers might get caught in the net, but the whales will just swim right through.

What’s really maddening, though, is that we’re into the second year of Trump’s critics still being infuriated by his style, even as they ignore or downplay the much grosser offenses of numerous Democrats. Much of the whole “Russia collusion” fantasy has been generated by Trump’s refusal to abide by the media and establishment-created protocols presidents are supposed to follow. Republican Trump critics are just as bad, still not figuring out that their fealty to exalted “protocols” and good taste are just what energized ordinary citizens, those folks grown sick of bipartisan elites who seemed to have more in common with each other than with the people they’re supposed to represent.

So, for example, we hear once again from the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan––who seems bent on spending the rest of her career playing Margaret Dumont to Trump’s Groucho Marx––whining about Trump’s asking Comey for “loyalty.” “Presidents don’t lean on FBI chiefs in this way,” Noonan sniffed. “It is at odds with traditional boundaries, understandings and protocols.” Really? Sez who? LBJ probably applied worse pressure than that before lunch every day. And few presidents “leaned on” J. Edgar Hoover only because the G-man had some pretty thick files on them.

As for “traditional boundaries, understandings and protocols,” where do they come from? Andrew Jackson? Political decorum and comity are good things, but in democratic politics they usually serve as gate-keepers separating the elites from their clients. They also are camouflage for disguising collusion or incompetence or inaction. They’re just the air-freshener for the political sausage factory. What matters is getting the sausage made.

But the only rule-book that matters is the Constitution. And it says a president can fire any executive employee, including the head of the FBI, any way he wants and for any reason he sees fit. The FBI is a federal agency, not a separate arm of the government, answerable to the Chief Executive, who, unlike Comey or Lynch, is directly answerable to the sovereign people. If they’re unhappy with the president’s tweets or brashness or actions, they’ll let him and his party know at the ballot box.

And that’s what’s objectionable about these opera-buffa “hearings.” The media and politicians are obsessing over superficial issues of presidential style, progressive fake news, and he-said-he-said squabbles, while the real work that needs to get done is being neglected. And Obama left behind some huge messes that Trump promised to clean up. We don’t need “hearings” about Russian interference in the election. That’s a dog-bites-man story. Just shoot the dog by increasing cyber-security, and stop talking about it. We don’t need hearings about alleged “Russian collusion” with the Trump campaign. Just shut up, investigate, and if necessary charge, prosecute, and convict the guilty. Ditto with the federal agencies leaking like a colander, the only substantive story in the Trump-and-Comey puppet show.

All of us need to get focused and hold the politicians’ feet to the fire and to make them deliver the changes necessary for restoring economic growth, reforming our broken health-care system, and straightening out our Kafkaesque tax code. These are hard problems with harder solutions, but they won’t get fixed if Congress is off mugging for television cameras or taking the whole month of August off.

Many Congressmen assure us that they are hard at work below the media’s radar. I hope that’s true, because if the Republicans and Trump fail to deliver on his promises with substantial change, we might see in our country a reprise of what just happened in England’s snap election, where a hard-left buffoon perhaps fatally wounded the Tories’ government. Trump promised to win so much the people will get sick of winning. He’d better make it happen, or else the people who put him in office will get sick of him. And our own country has plenty of hard-left buffoons itching to take his place.

Gohmert: Obama DOJ, Not the Russians, Tried to Influence Presidential Election

June 12, 2017

Gohmert: Obama DOJ, Not the Russians, Tried to Influence Presidential Election, Breitbart, Penny Starr, June 11, 2017

 

In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” on Sunday, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) said that if anyone interfered with the 2016 presidential election, it wasn’t the Russians but the Department of Justice.

He specifically named former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former FBI Director James Comey.

Gohmert referred to Comey’s testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee where he said Lynch had told him to refer to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as a “matter,” rather than an “investigation,” even though Clinton was under investigation.

Comey said that led him to publicly announce the end of the Clinton investigation in July 2016.

“At best, it was an attempt to manipulate the election, not by the Russians in this case, but by the Department of Justice – the Attorney General herself – because that came from Comey,”  Gohmert said.

“[Comey] totally ruined his own credibility – or what was left of it,” Gohmert said. “He did vast damage and raised big red flags and questions over Loretta Lynch’s job as head of the Justice Department.

“[Lynch] was using her official position to help the campaign of Hillary Clinton and that didn’t seem to bother him enough to do a memo,” Gohmert said.

Gohmert said this should be the subject of a congressional investigation.

“We need to round up all those people [Comey] talked to – because we have a conspiracy remaining afoot in the Department of Justice that is going to be out to destroy this president and they’ve got to be fired if not worse.”

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press

June 11, 2017

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press, PJ Media, Andrew Klacan, June 11, 2017

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

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It now seems clear that Barack Obama was a corrupt machine politician in the worst Chicago mold. He used the IRS to silence his enemies, and the Justice Department to protect his friends. His two major “achievements” — a health care law that doesn’t work and a deal that increased the power and prestige of the terrorist state of Iran — were built on lies to the public and manipulation of the press. And that’s according to his own allies! Only the leftist bias and racial pathology of the media kept his administration from being destroyed by scandal, as it surely would have been had he been a white Republican.

I don’t mention this to bring up old grudges, but for what it says about the current moment and the week just passed. Here’s some of what we recently learned:

Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony concerning former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s corruption confirmed our worst suspicions about the Obama DOJ. In an apparent attempt to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Lynch told Comey to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s abuse of classified material as “a matter” rather than an investigation. And, as we already knew but Comey confirmed, Lynch’s secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton so underscored Comey’s sense of her crookedness that the self-serving drama queen Comey actually went around her to publicly declare Hillary guilty-but-not-guilty.

“It won’t get much attention, but that was pretty damning,” said CNN’s John King of Comey’s testimony about Lynch. You can translate “it won’t get much attention” into “we won’t give it much attention.”

But all that was nothing compared to the brutal, nearly 300-page report released last week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a report absolutely blasting the previous Obama AG, Eric Holder. The report details how Holder and the Obama administration labored to cover up the details of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal — a scandal which, unlike the non-collusion-with-Russia non-scandal, was implicated in the murder of an American law officer. Even the mom of the slain officer couldn’t get the truth out of Holder and his cronies. The report says Holder considered the officer’s family a “nuisance” because they were trying to get him to tell them how exactly the lawman died at the hands of gangsters who were wielding guns Obama’s DOJ had allowed them to buy.

We’ve heard a lot from Comey and the press this week about the precious independence of the Justice Department. And yet Attorney General Holder once said, “I’m still the president’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy.” Holder was also the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents relating to Fast and Furious. And, speaking of obstruction of justice — we were speaking of obstruction of justice, weren’t we? — President Obama asserted executive privilege to make it easier for Holder to keep those docs in the dark. Hey, nothing’s too good for the president’s wingman!

What a sleazy bunch they were! Hiding their corruption behind the color of their skin. Criticized for Fast and Furious in 2011, Holder said: “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.” What a sleazy bunch.

So let’s remember. Obama is the nefarious machine pol who appointed James Comey to head the FBI in the first place. This is the Comey who took no notes when he spoke with Obama, no notes when he questioned Hillary about her emails, no notes, apparently, during the cover-up conversation with Lynch that left him with “a queasy feeling,” but who suddenly began documenting his exchanges with Trump — exchanges that Trump says never happened. This is the Comey who let Hillary off the hook because he somehow knew she didn’t intend to share classified information (a matter that doesn’t exist in the relevant law), but who cannot comment on whether Donald Trump intended to obstruct justice when Trump expressed his hopes about an investigation.

And the Obama administration — this crooked gang of liars and colluders — this is the gang that was deemed “scandal free” by virtually every “mainstream” news outlet. Indeed, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson had to leave CBS News in large part because CBS would not run her work on Fast and Furious.

My point is not to excuse Trump for any of his inappropriate and sometimes boorish behavior. I hope he learns better. My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

Comey Invalidates Special Counsel

June 10, 2017

Comey Invalidates Special Counsel, Gingrich Productions, Newt Gingrich, June 9, 2017

(Please see also, OPINION: The damaging case against James Comey. — DM)

The most startling revelation from fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony this week was his barefaced admission that he intentionally leaked details of his private conversations with the President to the press in an effort to prompt the appointment a special counsel.

When asked Thursday by Senator Susan Collins of Maine whether he shared the memos he wrote about his conversations with President Trump with anyone outside the Department of Justice, Comey answered:

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter – didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons – but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

This statement is tremendously important because it completely delegitimizes Robert Mueller’s so-called independent investigation and reveals it as poisoned fruit.

Think about it: Comey was the top law enforcement officer in the nation before he was fired on May 9. Had he felt a special counsel was necessary to investigate possible Russian influence in the 2016 election, he could have requested one from Congress at any time. If he felt his conversations with President Trump warranted additional attention, he could have approached Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about it.

But instead he decided to do nothing. Comey apparently didn’t think there was need for a special counsel until the Monday after he was fired, according to his testimony. In a clear act of retaliation, Comey went outside the system and shared secret information with the media via a college professor-friend, in a calculated attempt to inflict pain on the Trump Administration. Further, he said he turned all his memos about his conversations over to the special counsel upon his termination – so Mueller’s investigators already had all they needed to make their own decisions.

But Comey knows the press feed off attacking Trump. He also knows that they have an incomplete, false understanding of the Russia investigation and would therefore gladly perpetuate the false narrative that Trump was somehow under investigation. He saw a chance to cause drama, and he took it.

Yet this is the same person who on Thursday, under oath, exonerated Trump on the Russia question. Collins asked Comey two very direct, simple questions. She asked, “whether there was any kind of investigation about the President underway” and “was the President under investigation at the time of [Comey’s] dismissal on May 9?”

For both questions – under oath – Comey answered “no.”

This kind of petty vindictiveness is so unbelievable, I wouldn’t even write this type of stuff in one of my novels. The truth is, Comey behaved exactly like a bitter employee who had just been fired. He said nasty things about everyone from President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who served the Obama administration. The common thread in his testimony was that his firing was everyone’s fault but his own.

But there’s another wrinkle in this story: Comey and Mueller are very close.

Throughout his testimony, Comey described Mueller as “one of this country’s great, great pros,” called him “the right person” to lead the Russia investigation, and said “Bob Mueller is one of the finest people and public servants this country’s ever produced. He will do it well. He is a dogged, tough person, and you can have high confidence that, when it’s done, he’s turned over all the rocks.”

When Senator John Cornyn asked whether anything Comey had testified would “impede the investigation of the FBI or Director Mueller’s commitment to get to the bottom of this,” Comey stressed that the appointment of Mueller was “a critical part of that equation.”

Let’s also not forget that 97 percent of campaign donations from Department of Justice employees went to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The culture and people at DOJ are predisposed to be hostile to President Trump.

So, what we have here is a fired FBI director, who leaked private material to the press, so he could get his friend appointed as a special counsel in order to take retribution on the President – with the aid of a department full of federal lawyers who would have rather seen Hillary in the White House. And we are supposed to believe this will be an objective, unbiased investigation?

Comey’s testimony – and the situation he orchestrated around it – really show the depths to which the deep state will go – working around Congress, outside of even the federal process – to damage and undermine President Trump. And it perfectly illustrates how sick the system has become.

In my new book, Understanding Trump, which will be released Tuesday, I describe deep state operatives like Comey as the permanent opposition. They will stop at nothing to mar the Trump presidency in order to keep their influence.

Make no mistake: This is not about law and order, it is not about justice, it is not even about any investigation. This is about influence peddling, this is about the search for vengeance, and this is about stopping the revolution President Trump was elected to implement.

This is everything that sickens normal Americans about the swamp.

America is on a knife’s edge. The question is now whether Republicans in Congress will have the courage to stand with President Trump and fight the deep state that was personified in Comey’s testimony Thursday.