Merriam-Webster defines “insurrection” as “an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.” This being so, the one real insurrection within anyone’s memory was hatched on Jan. 5, 2017.
The conspirators met in the White House on that day to plot a quiet coup against President-elect Donald Trump. Presiding was President Barack Obama. Joining him was his national security team including all the usual suspects: the FBI’s Jim Comey, the CIA’s John Brennan, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
Following the meeting, Obama asked Yates and Comey to stick around along with Rice, his trusted scribe and factotum. Obama had a reason for singling out Comey and Yates. Unlike the others, they were staying on in their jobs.
Two weeks later, on the very day at the very moment Trump was being inaugurated, Rice sent to “self” an email memorializing the Jan. 5 meeting. It read:
“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.'”
Rice continued her dissembling, “The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”
In September 2012, Rice marked herself as a paid shill with her quintuple “the video caused it” deceptions on the Sunday shows following the Benghazi fiasco. What credibility she had to spare she squandered with this comically disingenuous email.
Rice was trying to absolve Obama of signing off on the coup. Unfortunately for Obama, she proved to be just as clumsy and obvious as on the fateful Sunday shows.
There is no “book” that justifies what Comey and pals did in the weeks immediately following this meeting while Obama was still president. The next day, Jan. 6, 2017, the conspirators released the declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).
Commissioned a month earlier by Obama, the ICA was John Brennan’s way of welcoming the president-elect to Washington. Titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” the report concluded that Putin “ordered” an influence campaign, the goal of which was “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
The corollary of this, of course, was that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.” The “Obama dossier,” as Rep. Devin Nunes called the ICA, reads like one of my college term papers, filled with sundry bits of dubious information gathered from here and there just hours before the due date.
Although Comey lobbied to have the Steele dossier included in the body of the text, wiser heads prevailed, and it was relegated to the appendices. Perhaps obvious to the others, the dossier was a stink bomb that would inevitably explode.
On the same day the ICA was released, Jan. 6, Comey, Clapper and Brennan briefed the incoming president at Trump Tower, sort of. “[W]e were not investigating him and the stuff [in the dossier] might be totally made up but it was being said out of Russia and our job was to protect the president from efforts to coerce him,” Comey wrote in his notes to self following the meeting. Of course, they were investigating Trump, and it was not the Russians who were doing the coercing.
Only Comey stayed behind to brief Trump about the Steele dossier. It had not yet been published. CNN had the story, Comey knew. He also knew that by telling the president about the dossier, he would give CNN the necessary news hook to report the dossier’s allegations, at least the more plausible ones.
One of the conspirators promptly leaked the news of the more intimate Comey-Trump briefing to CNN. On Jan. 8, deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe emailed his senior FBI colleagues. “CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story,” wrote McCabe. “The trigger for [CNN] is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.” McCabe sent this email under the heading, “The flood is coming.”
On Jan. 10, 2017, a heavy-hitting quartet of CNN reporters including Watergate vet Carl Bernstein broke the story of the Steele dossier. In the first paragraph, readers learned that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”
In the second, they learned that “the allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work U.S. intelligence officials consider credible.”
This was the closest Bernstein had come to matching his past glory in more than 40 years, but with Watergate there was at least a shred of truth to the story he and Bob Woodward wove.
Unfortunately for Bernstein and crew, hours later on that same January day, BuzzFeed served up the ultimate buzz kill. It went ahead and ran the complete dossier under the headline, “These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia.”
The CNN crew was outraged. “Collegiality wise,” wrote Jake Tapper to BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith, “it was you stepping on my dick.” CNN would have had an exclusive. Steele himself had briefed its reporters. They could have milked the story for weeks. BuzzFeed blew their cover.
Even at a glance, the casual reader could see what a pile of dog-doo the whole thing was, and yet here were the mavens of major media fighting to be first to cover themselves with its stink.
Five years later, their conspiracy busted, these same people have the nerve to decry the “insurrection” of Jan. 6, 2021? Please. At least, our “insurrectionists” did their thing in public.
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