Mollie Hemingway points out this morning that the Comey memos reveal the reason for the initial January 2017 meeting Comey held with Trump over the dossiers, and it has CNN’s name written all over it:
Newly released memos written by former FBI director James Comey indicate that an early 2017 briefing for then-President-elect Donald Trump about the contents of an infamous dossier was held so it could be leaked to media outlets eager to report on the dossier’s allegations. In multiple memos, Comey specifically mentioned that CNN had the dossier and wanted a “news hook” that would enable the network to report on its most salacious allegations even though they had not been verified.
“I said the Russians allegedly had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013,” Comey wrote of his conversation with Trump in a classified memo that was released in redacted form late Thursday. “I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands.”
No media organizations had reported the allegations at the time Comey briefed Trump.
“I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” Comey added in his memo about the briefing with Trump on January 6, 2017.
In another classified memo written on January 28, 2017, Comey wrote that in a separate meeting Trump mentioned the allegation about the alleged tape of prostitutes at a hotel and called it “fake news.”
“I explained again why I had thought it important that he know about it,” Comey wrote. “I also explained that one of the reasons we told him was that the media, CNN in particular, was telling us they were about to run with it.”
Of the many thousands of articles promoting a still-unproven theory of treasonous collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, few were as significant as CNN’s January 10 story “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.” Extremely well-placed sources told CNN that the Obama administration’s top intelligence appointees had briefed Obama, Biden, and Trump all about a dossier they took incredibly seriously and considered credible. And it sounded really bad, as the headline indicated.
“Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump,” CNN declared. BuzzFeed published the actual dossier within minutes of CNN’s story going live, showing the world that the dossier was riddled with salacious gossip that lacked even a possibility of corroboration.
Keep in mind that nothing we now know about the dossier had been reported at the time. It wasn’t yet reported that it was used by the FBI to provide a substantial basis to wiretap at least one Trump affiliate despite the fact it was unverified. It wasn’t yet reported that the product was bought and paid for as a Hillary Clinton campaign operation, or that it was secretly funded by the DNC using a law firm as a pass-through to hide its provenance in federal campaign filings. It wasn’t yet reported that its author’s working relationship with the FBI was terminated because he had lied to the agency about how he wouldn’t talk to the media.
Remember, Comey admitted that he did not tell Trump where the dossier actually came from and who paid for it. He even mentioned that in one of his memos:https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/987337290614796289
Yes all of this makes sense now. CNN couldn’t just run with the salacious unverified dossier on its own. They needed a way to present it as legitimate news, connected to Trump. So Comey orchestrated the briefing and gave them exactly what they needed to run this story. Wow. What a slimeball.
Just to be clear, Comey could have given CNN a different ‘news hook’ to run the story, one that revealed how Hillary and the DNC was the source of this salacious, unverified dossier. But I’m sure that wouldn’t have interested the likes of CNN nearly as much as a presidential briefing that suggested they took the dossier “incredibly seriously”.