(Tea Party PAC) – Former President Barack Obama may have been entirely privy to the fact that the FBI was surveilling the Donald Trump campaign based on claims of Russian election interference, according to the newly released audit from the Department of Justice’s inspector general.
In the recently-released report from IG Michael Horowitz, then-FBI Director James Comey said that while Obama did not explicitly ask for an investigation into Trump, he urged the FBI to warn the soon-to-be president of the surveillance that was taking place via counterintelligence defensive briefings.
Comey had indicated he had reservations about approving the Page FISA warrant, which enabled the investigation into the Trump campaign, to the DOJ IG.
The now-disgraced former FBI director said he had been concerned that the source for the FISA request was a partisan operative linked to Hillary Clinton, Christopher Steele, whose dirt on Trump “had not yet been corroborated.”
Really? He sure didn’t act on these concerns, and would go on to lie about the validity of Steele’s information.
According to notes taken by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe during a July 2016 meeting suggested that Obama knew it was Trump who was under suspicion and in the crosshairs of the FBI, rather than his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The IG report revealed:
Comey told us that he received no requests from the White House to investigate members of the Trump campaign or inquiries about whether the campaign was involved with the efforts by the Russians to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Comey said that he recalled generally the administration’s interest in what the FBI was doing as a member of the USIC [United States Intelligence Community] to understand and defeat Russia’s efforts to interfere with the elections. In fact, according to [then Crossfire Hurricane Section Chief Peter] Strzok, the White House requested a briefing from the USIC in the fall of 2016 about actions the Russians were taking to interfere in the elections.
Comey said [that during a 2016 meeting] he thought it was important that the president know the nature of the FBI’s efforts without providing any specifics. Comey said although he did not recall exactly what he said, he may have said there were four individuals with “some association or connection to the Trump campaign.”
Comey stated that after he provided this information, no one at the meeting responded or followed up with any questions. Comey did not recall specifically when this meeting took place, but believed it may have been in August 2016. We were unable to determine whether this meeting was part of the same meeting reflected in McCabe’s notes discussed above.
Obama reportedly suggested that the FBI should provide the candidates of the 2016 election with counterintelligence defensive briefings so they could be made aware of the supposed Russian efforts to interfere in the campaign.
The DOJ IG Michael Horowitz’s report added:
The notes [taken by McCabe in July 2016] do not provide any further details about what Obama said regarding defensive briefings, and McCabe told us he did not recall that any further details were provided to him.
However, McCabe said he surmised from his notes that the briefings under discussion were to be given to the Trump campaign [not Hillary Clinton].
This indicates that Obama was fully aware it was Trump who was suspected of being influenced by the Russians.
Horowitz’s report, however, notes:
The FBI participated in ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] strategic intelligence briefings that were provided to members of both the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign, including the candidates, in August and September 2016. However, those were not defensive briefings and did not address the allegations [about Russia trying to interfere in the U.S. elections] contained in the FFG [Friendly Foreign Government] information.
Obama’s former Deputy Attorney General (DAG), Sally Yates, suggested that the FBI may have briefed the White House on Operation Crossfire Hurricane, or the FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page.
Comey also admitted that the federal government had obtained the Page FISA warrant on the basis of uncorroborated information provided by a source linked to Hillary Clinton, ex-British spy Christopher Steele.
Crossfire Hurricane was the codename for the counterintelligence probe undertaken by the FBI in 2016 and 2017 into the alleged link between Trump campaign associates and Russia.
Both Yates and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch indicated the FBI did not brief them on Crossfire Hurricane even though the AG is the agency’s boss. The FBI is a component of the DOJ, then-led by Lynch.
“[Counterintelligence Division (CD) Assistant Director (AD) E.W. “Bill” Priestap, who approved the opening the Russian collusion hoax investigation into Trump] told the OIG that the FBI does not routinely brief ongoing cases to the White House,” the inspector general reported.
“With the exception of mass shootings, major terrorist attacks, or intelligence that suggests an imminent attack on the United States,” he added.
“Priestap said that due to certain national security considerations, information from ongoing investigations might also need to be briefed to the White House by the [FBI] Director,” he also said.
Ultimately, the FBI’s FISA warrant system for spying on Americans is a mess.