08.23.2019 0

Did the FBI brief the British spy working for Hillary Clinton on its Trump-Russia investigation in 2016 but not Congress?

By Rick Manning

There is one revelation in John Solomon’s latest column “10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall,” that ought to enrage every American citizen. Certainly, the civil rights of political candidates being trampled on by the government spying on the opposition party in an election year based on false charges is something that we thought only happened in the Third World. But one revelation from Solomon should have Congress in an uproar, and possibly James Comey nervous about perjury.

According to Solomon’s reporting, when Attorney General William Barr begins declassifying documents from the FBI’s investigation into the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory, it may show that not only was Christopher Steele giving information to the FBI, information that proved to be fake, but the FBI was giving information to Steele. Keep in mind that Steele is at the time a paid opposition researcher for Hilary Clinton and the DNC. This is going to be especially damning if the FBI made it known there was a counterintelligence investigation into then candidate Trump or his associates. Divulging this existence of the investigation is where Comey could be in more trouble than he already is.

When the “counterintelligence investigation” into candidate Trump and his team started, it was normal protocol for the FBI Director Comey to inform certain Members of Congress about sensitive investigations during a quarterly briefing. Certainly, investigating one of two remaining presidential candidates rises to that level of sensitive. Well, James Comey doesn’t think so.

In March of 2017 James Comey appeared before the House Intelligence Committee and was asked by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) why did the FBI wait three quarters to notify Congress of the investigation into Trump and his team. His answer was shocking and nonsensical then, it is downright ludicrous now. He stated the investigation “was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn’t include it in quarterly briefings.”

We further know this was a decision made by Comey and not any other person or group within the FBI thanks to closed door testimony from the then Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, Bill Priestap. In the session, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) questioned Priestap asking, “I guess what I’m asking, Mr. Priestap, is who made the decision not to brief Congress in this particular instance?”

Priestap answered “Mr. Comey.”

The question must now be asked how an investigation is so sensitive that it cannot be divulged to the heads of the intelligence committees, but still be revealed to the foreign spy working for the opposing candidate? Not only was Steele working for Hillary Clinton and the DNC, he was a foreign spy, formerly of the United Kingdom, whose own dossier used in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by the Justice Department purported to have Russian ties and sources in the Kremlin. How does a foreign spy with ties to Russia rate higher than Congress?

Every Member of Congress should be furious if this is true. It goes beyond partisan politics and goes to the checks and balances of our constitutional system. An unelected bureaucrat was breaking protocol because he knew Congress would never hold him accountable, because Congress never holds the administrative state in the executive branch accountable.

There is a reason Congress is in Article I of the Constitution. It is supposed to keep the other branches in check, but if they allow this to go without punishment, they will continue to be walked over by the executive branch. Congress has the power of the purse, and can use the purse to hold people accountable, if it ever chooses to do so.

Fortunately, with Attorney General Barr at the helm at the Justice Department, draining the swamp can begin right now. This entire spygate saga is disaster for our faith in federal law enforcement institutions, but what James Comey did may have destroyed it. Now it is up to Barr to restore it. When Congress comes back from recess, it should immediately subpoena Comey and ask him if this is true and move to finally hold people accountable.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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