Politics

‘Terrible, Terrible Judgment’ by Jim Comey and His Team, Says Ari Fleischer on Fox News

Among other details, the recently released IG report showed the former head of the FBI shared info from the Trump transition's briefing with none other than the bureau's Russian team

Speaking on the Fox News program “America’s Newsroom” on Wednesday morning, Ari Fleischer, a press secretary for former President George W. Bush for more than two years and a Fox News contributor, said the recently released inspector general’s report shows “terrible, terrible judgment” on the part of fired FBI head Jim Comey and his team.

“That’s the judgment part that I find so worrisome … If [this group of people] did this to Donald Trump, who else did they wrong?” he also said.

The IG report indicated that Comey immediately shared details from a post-election briefing for then-President-Elect Donald Trump with the FBI’s Russia team.

That revelation is the latest indication that traditional transition briefings were used to update not just the incoming president of the United States and his team — but to gather intelligence for an ongoing FBI investigation.

The long-awaited report from the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz last Thursday said that Comey violated FBI policies by drafting, leaking and retaining his memos, which documented private discussions he had with the president, as Fox News and many other outlets reported.

Related: Case Against Comey: He Violated FBI Policies in His Handling of Memos

The report also revealed new details about the FBI director’s actions at that time.

Among them, Comey and his top deputies went to great lengths to confront Donald Trump at a Jan. 6, 2017 meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with the salacious and unverified accusations contained in the dossier — which had been funded by Democrats and drafted by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.

“This is so extraordinary … I just find this wrong on every level,” said Fleisher on Wednesday to Fox News.

“They [Comey and his team] wanted Hillary [Clinton to win the 2016 election] against Trump, and that affected their judgment … I just find this morally and potentially legally terribly wrong.”

Related: Comey Thought He Was Above the Law

Back in April 2016, Marc Elias — an attorney for Democrat Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee — retained Fusion GPS “on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC,” as The Washington Post reported.

Fusion GPS then hired Steele to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump.

But the “dirt” Steele dug up was Russian dirt “based on conversations with Russian sources,” as The Post also reported.

Steele then packaged those accusations into a defamatory dossier full of Russian lies — a dossier about Trump that was ultimately used to justify a two-year special counsel’s investigation.

Related: Mueller Should Be Asked Why He Failed to Investigate Collusion Between Russia and Hillary’s Campaign

That dossier, full of Russian disinformation, then amazingly made its way into a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) application for a warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

But in a terrible omission, the application to the court made no mention of the Hillary Clinton-funded origins of the dossier — or its Russia sources.

Special counsel Robert Mueller actually echoed the unverified nature of the dossier in his own report, summing up the dossier as “unverified allegations compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele,” as Fox News’ Kayleigh McEnany pointed out. Mueller and his team did not find any proof of collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia — something Democrats had insisted for years.

Former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova recently told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, host of “The Ingraham Angle,” during an interview on her podcast that the IG report was “scathing” about Comey’s conduct as FBI director.

“Let’s remember something: He was the FBI director,” diGenova told Ingraham. “This is not some lowly street agent. [And] he’s being berated in a scathing tone by the inspector general because he used and leaked these memos for personal and political gain, according to Mr. Horowitz. And he set ‘a dangerous precedent,’ according to the inspector general, by providing confidential FBI material to the media for personal and political gain. It goes without saying that this is disgraceful in the literal sense of that word. James Comey, however, is beyond being embarrassed or disgraced.”

He added, “All we need to know about this is that the inspector general has shown Mr. Comey for what he is: someone who embarrassed the bureau … Whether or not he will face any legal consequences … remains to be seen.”

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LifeZette's Editor-in-Chief Maureen Mackey helped launch the site from its earliest days and previously served as its managing editor. Prior to her time at LifeZette, she held senior editorial positions at several national publications and is a former book editor. Her work has appeared in many outlets including Real Clear Politics, CNBC, The Fiscal Times, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Reader's Digest, and Fordham Magazine. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary. She can be reached at [email protected].

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