Months Before Election, Comey Wanted to Go Public on Russia

Kerry, other Obama higher-ups didn't want him to come forward, sources say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2017 9:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – Early in the summer of 2016, James Comey wanted to write an op-ed, likely for the New York Times, that would've detailed Russian tampering in the election way before the election—an idea shot down at a meeting with high-ranking Obama administration members, two sources tell Newsweek. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry was reportedly at that meeting, as were AG Loretta Lynch, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, and they all balked when the FBI director held up what appeared to be a draft on what he knew about the tampering, one source notes. "I want to go forward," the source says Comey said, an idea dismissed by the others. Their reasoning, per the source: an op-ed "doesn't have the same stature" and wouldn't be as effective as a joint letter from multiple government agencies.

An ex-FBI special agent tells Newsweek this shows Comey's "determination to be transparent," especially since he's taken pen to paper and gone public before (he wrote a letter to the editor in the Times in 2014 defending the FBI's occasional use of deception). Either way, Comey probably won't be too flustered by any criticism he faces as this news filters out. On Wednesday, he spoke at an Intelligence and National Security Alliance dinner, explaining that the FBI was nonpartisan—"We're not considering whose ox will be gored," he said, per the Weekand that people angry he went public with the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails are "wearing glasses that filter the world" to match their point of view. He also noted what usually happens after a "hard decision. I know … a storm is going to follow," he said. "Honestly, I don't care." (Comey issued a "double blow" to President Trump.)

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