The New York Times is out with a puff piece ahead of the highly anticipated DOJ Inspector General report expected any day now detailing the FBI's (mis)conduct during the 2016 US election. The Times piece is brought to you by yet more leaks from the FBI, with their account of the operation against the Trump campaign prior to former Director Comey's firing and the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.
- The FBI's codename for the operation which began 100 days before the US election was Crossfire Hurricane, in reference to a lyric in the Rolling Stones song Jumpin' Jack Flash.
- The FBI sent counterintelligence agents, one of whom was Peter Strzok, to London in the summer of 2016 to meet with Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, to describe his meeting with Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos.
- The meeting with Downer was described as "highly unusual," and "helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation."
- The FBI kept details of the operation secret from most of the DOJ - with "only about five Justice Department officials" aware of the full scope of the case.
Fearful of leaks, they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department. Peter Strzok, a senior F.B.I. agent, explained in a text that Justice Department officials would find it too “tasty” to resist sharing. “I’m not worried about our side,” he wrote. -NYT
It was an assignment so secretive that Peter Strzok giddily texted his side piece about it on an unsecured line. It's also weird for NYT to characterize the meeting as "not yet reported" seeing as how Strzok's texts about it have been out for months. https://t.co/lbvTZksLJr pic.twitter.com/QSA7TedpTM
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav)
- Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was under investigation, along with Paul Manafort and another advisor "suspected of being a Russian agent himself."
- Christopher Steele's anti-Trump dossier memos didn't reach the FBI until mid-September 2016.
The F.B.I. bureaucracy did agents no favors. In July, a retired British spy named Christopher Steele approached a friend in the F.B.I. overseas and provided reports linking Trump campaign officials to Russia. But the documents meandered around the F.B.I. organizational chart, former officials said. Only in mid-September, congressional investigators say, did the records reach the Crossfire Hurricane team.
- Strzok texted his mistress Lisa Page with doubts over the case.
“I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,” Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.
- Donald Trump was not under investigation, "but his actions perplexed the agents."