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by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 23, 2019) — Fox News contributor and radio host Dan Bongino said on Saturday morning that former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and the Obama White House are implicated in the FBI’s launching of “a collusion scandal that we now know conclusively was absolute garbage.”
Bongino made an in-person appearance on “Fox & Friends” and spoke in response to the delivery of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report to the Department of Justice, signaling the conclusion of its probe into alleged Trump-Russia “collusion” and Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.
He said that the “collusion” narrative has been disproved because Mueller “has never charged one single person with a conspiracy charge related to this Russian collusion scandal laid out in the dossier,” referring to a compilation of unverified narratives assembled by British FBI source Christopher Steele and provided to the FISA court to obtain surveillance warrants on then-Trump informal adviser Carter Page.
No additional indictments were recommended, multiple outlets reported Friday night.
Steele was commissioned for the task by Fusion GPS, which was paid by a DNC-affiliated law firm, Perkins Coie, to collect opposition research on Trump. The DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign provided the funds to Perkins, a fact that was omitted from the four surveillance warrant applications on Carter Page.
Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and other DOJ/FBI officials approved the applications, which by FBI policy mandate that the evidence submitted therein must have been verified.
Bongino said that those who signed off on the FISA applications’ accuracy now carry “extreme liability.” “They signed, basically, a fake file,” he added.
Although made out to be a collaborator with Russia in the applications, Carter Page was never charged with a crime.
Bongino additionally referred to a report from Fox’s Catherine Herridge filed Friday night in which she stated that the outlet obtained hard copies of text messages exchanged between former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his counsel, Lisa Page, (unrelated to Carter Page) showing political bias against Trump and then-House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy.
Gowdy, who did not seek re-election in November and is now a Fox News contributor, was leading a probe independent of Mueller’s into the conduct of the FBI and DOJ during the 2016 election cycle. He was joined in that effort by then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
Approximately a year ago, Nunes released a report in which he stated that Republicans on his committee, who were then in the majority, found no evidence of “collusion” between anyone in the Trump campaign and Russia. Then-ranking member, Adam Schiff, vowed that Democrats would continue their own investigation.
In the aftermath of the 2018 midterm elections, Schiff became chairman and has since announced an expansion of the Russia investigation to include Trump’s business decisions and dealings prior to his successful 2016 campaign. Similarly, current House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has issued document requests to 81 parties and entities related to Trump’s businesses, perhaps going back decades.
The texts with McCabe show that Lisa Page was aware of a concern of “bias” as to a confidential human source (chs) on the part of DOJ official Stuart Evans in regard to the dossier, Herridge reported.
Breaking down the texts, Herridge further wrote:
On Oct. 14, 2016, Page again wrote to McCabe, this time concerning a meeting with the White House.
“Just called,” Page said to McCabe. “Apparently the DAG [Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates] now wants to be there, and WH wants DOJ to host. So we are setting that up now. … We will very much need to get Cohen’s view before we meet with her. Better, have him weigh in with her before the meeting. We need to speak with one voice, if that is in fact the case.” (“Cohen” is likely then-Deputy CIA Director David Cohen.)
McCabe responded within the hour: “Thanks. I will reach out to David.” On Oct. 19, Page wrote to McCabe that the “meeting with WH counsel is finally set up.”
In closed-door testimony last July to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, Lisa Page said that political bias did not color the FBI’s opening of a counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign. Her former FBI colleague and paramour, Peter Strzok, asserted the same.
It has been reported that the DOJ’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, continues to investigate FBI leaks to the press, including Comey’s leaking to the press of several memos he wrote after meetings or phone calls with Trump which may have been classified. An initial report issued last June found Comey “insubordinate” in giving a solo press conference in which he said Clinton would not be recommended for prosecution for her mishandling of classified information on a private, unauthorized server while she served as Obama’s secretary of state.
During sworn testimony in June 2017, Comey admitted that he hoped providing the memos to the press through “a friend,” who is one of his attorneys, would spur the hiring of a special counsel. The cost of Mueller’s investigation is said to exceed $25 million, paid for by American taxpayers.
Later in the “Fox & Friends” broadcast, a caption on the bottom of the screen read, “Fmr intel leaders pushed ‘collusion’ narrative.”
Since news broke of Mueller’s report having been provided to the DOJ, defenders of the president have said he is “vindicated,” while Democrats have, on a spectrum of reactions, turned to what prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) might unearth to the assertion by Schiff that his committee will “subpoena” Mueller to obtain a complete idea of the contents of the report.
Bongino said that he believes the next issue to emerge in the “collusion” investigation will be one involving the Ukraine, which, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon, encompasses an alleged 2016 scheme to release damaging information on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in order to help Clinton’s campaign.
On Friday night Solomon suggested on “Hannity” that the next DOJ IG report is perhaps “90 days” away from its conclusion.
By statute, Mueller’s report is to be reviewed by the attorney general, whose responsibility is then to write his own report on its contents and provide it to Congress. Democrats have already cried foul, claiming that the Trump executive branch will attempt a “cover-up” of Mueller’s findings.