In her weekly Wall Street Journal column Kim Strassel formulates 11 “basic questions” for Comey to answer some time on his book tour promoting himself as our tutor in ethical leadership. They are all good questions. Here are six of them:
• You admit the Christopher Steele dossier was still “unverified” when the FBI used it as the basis of a surveillance warrant against Carter Page. Please explain. Also explain the decision to withhold from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
• You say you knew the dossier was funded by a “Democrat-aligned” group but that you “never knew” which one. Why not? Didn’t the FBI have a duty to find out?
• Please explain the extraordinary accommodations the FBI provided Team Clinton during the email investigation. Why was Cheryl Mills —whose emails suggest she had early knowledge of the irregular server as Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff—allowed to claim attorney-client privilege and represent Mrs. Clinton at her interview? Why did that interview happen only at the end? Especially since you say any case hung entirely on her “intent”?
• You’ve surely now read the texts between the FBI’s Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. That happened on your watch. Is this appropriate FBI behavior? Should we believe such behavior is limited to them? In addition to overt political bias, the texts prove the FBI took politics into account—worrying, for instance, about how much manpower to put into investigating the woman who could be our “next president.” Why should the public have any faith in the integrity of the Clinton or Trump investigation?
• The texts ridicule former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision to step aside from the Clinton probe, “since she knows no charges will be brought.” This was before the FBI even interviewed Mrs. Clinton. And it contradicts your claim at the start of your July 2016 press conference that no one at the Justice Department knew what you were about to say. Please explain.
• You dismiss Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo as nothing but a “pretext” to fire you. Yet you don’t address its claims. Please point to the internal policies or regulations that gave you the authority to announce that Mrs. Clinton was being cleared and why. Please provide any examples of similar announcements by FBI directors. Please address the criticisms of the prior attorneys general and deputy attorneys general from both parties cited in the Rosenstein memo.
It’s a good start.
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