What we have learned so far (3)

In this series we have sought to recall what we have learned so far in the matter of the greatest scandal in our history — the one underlying the presidential election of 2016, from the Clinton campaign to the highest reaches of the Obama administration. UC Berkeley School of Law Heller Professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo wrote at FOX News over the weekend:

A transcript [of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to two House Committees in] the closed-door hearing [last week] shows Comey confirmed that he evaded standard protocol – which would have required the FBI to work through the White House Counsel’s Office and Justice Department leadership – when he sent two FBI agents to question Flynn in the first days of the Trump administration. [We posted the transcript here.]

Comey boasted that excluding Justice Department and White House lawyers from the questioning of Flynn is “something we, I, probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more organized investigation, a more organized administration.”

FBI agents then subjected Flynn to careful questioning, even though they already had electronic intercepts of his conversations with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and his many contacts with foreign diplomats during the Trump presidential transition.

The FBI agents encouraged Flynn to sit down without White House lawyers present, did not reveal that he was the subject of a criminal investigation, and even came away thinking he did not intentionally lie to them.

Many observers have asked why Flynn would lie about a detail involving his discussions of sanctions with Russia’s ambassador. After all, it was his job as the incoming national security adviser to make contact with important foreign governments.

Flynn would also know, as a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, that the FBI regularly monitors the electronic communications of foreign diplomats.

But the overlooked question is this: Why did Comey and the FBI go to such extreme lengths to catch Flynn in a lie, when he had violated no federal law?

Under questioning before the House Judiciary Committee, Comey claimed that the FBI has the duty to “understand why it appeared to be the case that the National Security adviser was making false statements about his conversations with the Russians to the Vice President of the United States.”

But as Gowdy and others made clear, it is not the FBI’s job to make sure politicians tell the truth to each other. If it was, the FBI would be so busy it would never get to its real mission of investigating federal crimes.

Though he resisted this inference during the hearings, Comey’s answer suggests that his order to investigate Flynn was part of a broader counterintelligence investigation into the Trump presidential campaign….

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