FBI Director James Comey attempted to go public as early as the summer of 2016 with information on Russia’s campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, but Obama administration officials blocked him from doing so, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell Newsweek.
Well before the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence accused the Russian government of tampering with the U.S. election in an October 7 statement, Comey pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about the Russian campaign during a meeting in the White House Situation Room in June or July.
“He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward. What do people think of this?’” says a source with knowledge of the meeting, which included Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson and the national security adviser Susan Rice.
The other national security officials didn’t like the idea, and White House officials thought the announcement should be a coordinated message backed by multiple agencies, the source says. “An op-ed doesn’t have the same stature. It comes from one person.”
Though this op-ed would have contained much of the explosive information that was finally released by the intelligence agencies on January 6th, it would NOT have contained information about the FBI's ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign's links to the Russian interference.
Would this op-ed have changed the outcome of the election? That is hard to quantify. But maybe.
And let's remember that the Obama Administration was beyond confident that Hillary would win the election, and did not want to be seen as interfering to bring about that outcome.
If the Obama Administration can be faulted for anything it is in having confidence in the intelligence of the American people.
You see Donald Trump knew that a great number of American voters were dumb as a box of rocks, and he spoke to them right on their level.
However what we must also keep in mind is that Comey actually DID help to alter the outcome of the election by sending that letter to Congress in October in which he essentially suggested that Hillary Clinton may be about to be indicted.
I don't know if this is some attempt by Comey to repair his reputation in some way by suggesting that he wanted to do the right thing but was stopped from doing so, but the facts are that his letter about those e-mails on Wiener's computer all but handed the election to Donald Trump.
And that is not something I will soon forget, or forgive.