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BOMBSHELL: At Least One Of The Four Memos Comey Passed To NYT Contained Classified Info

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(Via Zerohedge)

Back in May, the New York Times scored one of their biggest ‘hits’ to date on Trump when they secured 4 memos drafted by James Comey allegedly summarizing direct conversations with the President (we covered it here: Comey’s Revenge: Leaks Memo To NYT Saying Trump Asked Him To End Flynn Investigation). Among other things, the memos asserted that Trump directly asked Comey to end his investigation of Michael Flynn and to pledge “loyalty” to him.

Of course, as we all know by now, Comey did not pass his memos directly to the New York Times but instead used an intermediary, Columbia University Law School professor Daniel Richman. Now, Richman told CNN in July that none of the memos he received were marked “classified” but, according to a new letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein yesterday by Chuck Grassley, that may not have been entirely accurate.

As Grassley notes, 4 of the 7 Comey memos that he reviewed at the FBI were “marked classified at the “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL” levels.” Moreover, since Richman received 4 memos, simple mathematical realities would dictate that at least of them contained material that the FBI now considers classified.

My staff has since reviewed these memoranda in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the FBI, and I reviewed them in a SCIF at the Office of Senate Security. The FBI insisted that these reviews take place in a SCIF because the majority of the memos are classified. Of the seven memos, four are marked classified at the “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL” levels. Only three did not contain classified information.

According to press reports, Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to “detail [Comey’s] memos to the press.” If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information. Professor Richman later read a portion of one of the memos to a New York Times reporter.

For those who missed it, here is what Richman told CNN about the classification of the memos he shared with the New York Times:

According to CNN, Daniel Richman, with whom Comey shared at least one memo the contents of which Richman shared with New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, said President Trump was wrong in accusing Comey of sharing classified information with journalists.

“No memo was given to me that was marked ‘classified,'” Daniel Richman told CNN. “No memo was passed on to the Times.”

Well, not quite: Richman did share the contents of one memo, he said, but “the substance of the memo passed on to the Times was not marked classified and to my knowledge remains unclassified.”

As you may recall, during his June 2017 testimony Comey said he specifically wrote the memos to avoid including classified information to make them “easier to discuss.”

“My thinking was, if I write it in such a way that I don’t include anything that would trigger a classification, that’ll make it easier for us to discuss, within the FBI and the government, and to — to hold on to it in a way that makes it accessible to us,” Comey told senators.

And here, as in the case of Hillary Clinton, is where the problem emerges, because what Comey considered not confidential – just like Clinton – has differed from others’ opinion. In other words, whether he wrote or rewrote the memos to make the leak “easier” – which also begs the question what else was redacted or added to the original content – the confidential information remained…at least in the opinion of someone within the Department of Justice.

Of course, as we all know well by now, mishandling classified information and/or making false statements to the FBI is only a crime if you’re a Republican and/or not part of the Deep State.

Here is the full Chuck Grassley Letter to Rosenstein:

Dear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:

This Committee has previously written to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the memorandum that former Director Comey created purportedly memorializing his interactions with President Trump. My staff has since reviewed these memorandum in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the FBI, and I reviewed them in a SCIF at the Office of Senate Security. The FBI insisted that these reviews take place in a SCIF because the majority of the memos are classified. Of the seven memos, four are marked classified at the “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL” levels. Only three did not contain classified information. FBI personnel refused to answer factual questions during the document reviews, including questions about the chain of custody of the documents I was reviewing, the date that they were marked classified, and who marked them as classified.

According to press reports, Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to “detail [Comey’s] memos to the press.” If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information. Professor Richman later read a portion of one of the memos to a New York Times reporter.

When the Committee contacted Professor Richman seeking copies of the memos Mr. Comey had provided him, he refused to provide them, did not say how many he had received from Mr. Comey, and refused to say whether he retained copies. It is unclear whether any of the memos reviewed by the Committee were retrieved from Professor Richman. The Committee has accordingly not determined which of the seven memos Mr. Comey provided him. Professor Richman did tell Committee investigators that he was working with the Special Counsel’s Office, and he reportedly told the media that he had turned over to the FBI copies of the memos he’d received from Mr. Comey. If true, the Justice Department should know which memos were provided and be able to share that information with the Committee.

In order for the Committee to further assess this situation, please respond to the following in writing by no later than January 17, 2018:

Has the Justice Department or FBI in fact determined that any of the memoranda Mr. Comey sent Professor Richman contained classified information? If so, what steps were taken to retrieve and safeguard the information?

Which of the seven memoranda the FBI made available for the Committee’s review did Mr. Comey give to Professor Richman?
When did Mr. Comey give Professor Richman the memoranda?
At the time that Professor Richman received the memoranda, were any marked as classified?

At the time that Professor Richman received the memoranda, did any contain classified information, regardless of markings?

Please explain the method by which Mr. Comey transmitted the memoranda to Professor Richman. If the transmittal was electronic:

Please provide the account information that Mr. Comey and Mr. Richman used.

Please describe what steps the FBI has taken to recover all copies of any classified memorandum that might reside on computers, servers, or at other locations.

Have you initiated an investigation into the matter of whether Mr. Comey improperly disclosed classified information by providing these memoranda to Professor Richman? If so, what is the status of the investigation? If not, why not?

Has there been any review of whether the disclosure of the memoranda by Mr. Comey was otherwise improper, such as whether it violated his employment agreement or any Department rule or policy? If so, what is the status of the review?

If not, why not?
When did the FBI mark the four memoranda as classified, and who made the classification decision?

As noted above, it has been reported that Professor Richman returned the memoranda to the FBI. If so, on what date did this occur?
Did anyone from the FBI or Special Counsel’s Office discuss with Professor Richman this Committee’s request for copies of the memos? If so, please provide all records related to any such communications.

Does Professor Richman still have possession of any of the memorandum or copies?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please contact Patrick Davis of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225 if you have any questions.

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Economy

China Pressuring Wall Street To Stop Trump On Trade War

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(Via Zerohedge)

If anyone still doubted President Trump’s determination to slap tariffs on all – or even more than all – Chinese goods flowing into the US, they probably don’t anymore. So far this week, the president has taken to twitter to trash his own Treasury Secretary’s efforts to restart talks with the Chinese, before Trump publicly declared on Friday that he intends to move ahead with plans to slap 25% tariffs on another $200 billion worth of goods.

Given the president’s unflinching resolve in pursuing his trade agenda, it’s understandable why a shrewd businessmen would go to great lengths to avoid getting in the middle of what looks to be a protracted geopolitical dogfight.

But unfortunately for top Wall Street firms, many of which harbor ambitions of expanding their business in China, that may no longer be an option. Because while the Trump administration has largely left them alone, the Chinese are now trying to use whatever leverage they can (i.e. preferential access to the world’s second-largest economy) to push America’s top bankers to intervene on Beijing’s behalf.

Reuters reported Friday that top Chinese officials have hastily organized an investment conference in Beijing and requested the presence of several top Wall Street firms. The conference will be chaired by former PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan and ex-Goldman Sachs President John Thornton, and feature an appearance by Chinese vice-president Wang Qishan. Dubbed “the firefighter” by the Chinese people, Quishan, in addition to being the most powerful of China’s vice presidents, is also one of the senior Communist officials involved in managing the trade dispute.

While market liberalization is certainly a priority for the Chinese, it’s difficult to imagine that these top officials are planning to attend this conference – especially with so much else going on – just to brainstorm ideas about how China can proceed with opening up its financial sector.

The subtext here is obvious: China wants to figure out who in the US financial services community can help them get through to Trump and help stop this conflict before losses in China’s currency and stock market spiral out of control. And if the carrot of access doesn’t work, China has already proven adept at leveraging the stick.

(Full Article Here)

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Politics

Jeff Bezos Thinks President Trump’s “Attacks” Are “Dangerous”

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(Via Zerohedge)

A day after unveiling his first major charitable initiative (an announcement that arrived, coincidentally, we’re sure, after a bruising week of headlines detailing the latest crop of worker-abuse allegations directed at Amazon), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (also the world’s wealthiest man) disappointed hundreds of powerful people who had convened to hear him speak – as rumors swirled that he might reveal the location of Amazon’s much-hyped HQ2 – last night at the Economic Club of Washington DC. But instead of an outright reveal, Bezos assured his audience that Amazon plans to announce the location by the end of the year, though he wouldn’t elaborate beyond that.

According to CNBC, Bezos, who was interviewed by private equity titan David Rubenstein, assured his audience that Amazon’s team is “working hard” on evaluating the finalists (the company announced 20 finalists earlier this year).

“The answer is very simple…We will answer the decision before the end of the year,” Bezos said. “We will get there.” Bezos swiftly changed the subject to his recently launched “Day One” charitable fund, which he recently seeded with $2 billion of his personal fortune.

As is his nature, Bezos shared his intentions to expand the “Day One” fund as his team learns more about the “business” of philanthropy.

“I believe in the power of wandering,” Bezos said. “All of my best decisions in business and life have been made with heart, intuition, guts — not analysis.”

He later said he would like to invest “a lot of money” in an enterprise that most rational investors would view as a “really bad investment”, a statement that turned into a plug for his Blue Origin space exploration company.

(Full Article Here)

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Politics

Bailing Out The Rich Only Makes It Worse

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(Via Zerohedge)

In 1948, the architect of the post-war American suburb, William Levitt, explained the point of the housing finance system. “No man who owns his own house and lot can be a Communist,” he said. “He has too much to do.”

It’s worth reflecting on this quote on the ten-year anniversary of the financial crisis, because it speaks to how the architects of the bailouts shaped our culture. Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson, the three key men in charge, basically argue that the bailouts they executed between 2007 and 2009 were unfair, but necessary to preserve stability. It’s time to ask, though: just what stability did they preserve?

These three men paint the financial crisis largely as a technical one. But let’s not get lost in the fancy terms they use, like “normalization of credit flows,” in discussing what happened and why. The excessively wonky tone is intentional – it’s intended to hide the politics of what happened. So let’s look at what the bailouts actually were, in normal human language.

The official response to the financial crisis ended a 75-year-old American policy of pursuing broad homeownership as a social goal. Since at least Franklin Delano Roosevelt, American leaders had deliberately organized the financial system to put more people in their own homes. In 2011, the Obama administration changed this policy, pushing renting over owning. The CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, echoed this view shortly thereafter. There are many reasons for the change, and not all of them were bad. But what’s important to understand is that the financial crisis was a full-scale assault on the longstanding social contract linking Americans with the financial system through their house.

The way Geithner orchestrated this was through a two-tiered series of policy choices. During the crisis, everyone needed money from the government, but Geithner offered money to the big guy, and not the little guy.

First, he found mechanisms, all of them very technical—and well-reported in Adam Tooze’s new book Crashed—to throw unlimited amounts of credit at institutions controlled by financial executives in the United States and Europe. (Eric Holder, meanwhile, also de facto granted legal amnesty to executives for possible securities fraud associated with the crisis.)

Second, Geithner chose to deny money and credit to the middle class in the midst of a foreclosure crisis. The Obama administration supported this by neutering laws against illegal foreclosures.

The response to the financial crisis was about reorganizing property rights. If you were close to power, you enjoyed unlimited rights and no responsibilities, and if you were far from power, you got screwed. This shaped the world into what it is today. As Levitt pointed out, when people have no stake in the system, they get radical.

Did this prevent a full-scale collapse? Yes. Was it necessary to do it the way we did? Not at all.

(Full Article Here)

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