Former FBI Director James Comey took part in a closed-door interview with congressional lawmakers on Friday, with the release of the transcript leading to a few notable revelations.

During the questioning, Comey noted that Donald Trump was not part of the initial investigation into Russian election meddling, confessed that the infamous Steele dossier was not verified either before or after they used it to obtain a FISA warrant, and suddenly couldn’t recall things when put on the spot.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) released the 235-page transcript of the hearing as part of an agreement with Comey, who initially grandstanded and demanded a public hearing. He later caved with the realization he didn’t have any standing to make demands.

The transcript reveals a few interesting tidbits …

Comey’s Memory Wasn’t All That Great

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While it’s true of many witnesses facing intense scrutiny from lawmakers – that it becomes difficult to remember key details under pressure – Comey is a man who keeps detailed memos about conversations with President Trump, which he remembers vividly. Yet, his recollection of events was markedly weak during the interview.

John Solomon of The Hill writes that one lawmaker joked, “His memory was so bad I feared he might not remember how to get out of the room after the interview.”

Indeed, according to Fox News, “Comey claimed ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t remember’ in response to dozens of questions concerning key details in the Russia probe.”

 

Trump Wasn’t Under Investigation Initially

When his memory did work, Comey’s statements left readers confounded over the details he revealed.

One such detail involved an admission that four Americans had been under investigation for potential efforts to allow Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. Guess who wasn’t one of them?

Time reports:

In offering some details of the investigation’s origins, Comey said it started in July 2016 with a look at “four Americans who had some connection to Mr. Trump” during that summer and whether they were tied to “the Russian interference effort.” The campaign itself, he said, was not investigation at that time.

This is troubling for the fact that the catalyst in investigating Trump may have been a warrant to monitor Carter Page, a campaign adviser at the time, which was obtained in October of that year.

As we’ve discussed, the FBI used the Steele dossier, which they knew was unverified, to illegally obtain that warrant. In a previous column, Solomon revealed the existence of an email chain that, if revealed according to one source, would provide the American people with “clear and convincing evidence to see the FISA warrant that escalated the Russia probe just before Election Day was flawed and the judges (were) misled.”

In other words, the FBI under Obama used illegal means to obtain a warrant, which they then could use as a way to pull Trump himself into the investigation.

Steele Dossier Not Verified Then, Not Verified Now

Solomon also analyzed that the FBI failed to verify the dossier prior to obtaining the warrant, but didn’t bother to verify it afterward knowing full-well they had just used specious means to dupe judges into granting them spying privileges.

Comey “confessed that the FBI had not corroborated much of the Steele dossier before it was submitted as evidence to a secret court to support a (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the final weeks of the election,” he wrote.

“And Comey admitted much of the dossier remained uncorroborated more than six months later when he was fired by President Trump.”

 

The entire premise of the investigation into Page was flawed, and by extension, the investigation into the President has remained flawed. Comey knew it, his department knew it, and the Obama administration knew it.

The witch hunt has gone too far. It should have been stopped long ago. President Trump was well within his rights to fire Mueller. His biggest mistake as President may have been not acting on that right.

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