… from Russia Today, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: Director Comey is nothing if not a good “testifier”. It is not a common talent to find on an executive resume, but a much needed one for department head inside the Beltway, and even more so for an investigative agency that many politicians have a love-hate relationship with, like the FBI.
Nobody ever lays a glove on Comey. He is actually treated with kid gloves, as overly zealous questioners risk exposing themselves to be filleted in public, something politicians don’t want on their resumes.
Today’s hearing gave the Director the podium to deny that he had been the source of controversial leaks to the news over the Hillary and the Donald investigations, and going further to say he did not authorize anyone else to do it either.
RT has a good selection of the director’s answers while on the Senate firing line – questions always prepared in advance by staff, and of course Comey is always prepared to answer everything, up to a point.
And yes there were inquiries about the Trump-Russia investigation, and the director handled that quite well. The respective parties are always trying to use investigations of the other party to draw as much blood as they can, and then scream bloody murder when their turn in the dock comes.
This is some of the best Reality TV that you can watch, because it’s the real thing. I might even watch the whole hearing tonight with a good beer… Jim W. Dean ]
This includes research, needed field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving, and more – Thanks for helping out
– First published … May 03, 2017 –
During a Senate hearing on FBI oversight, Director James Comey said he had not served as an anonymous news source on investigations into Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, nor had he authorized anyone else to do so. Comey also outlined the decision-making process for announcing on October 28 that the FBI had reopened the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
“It was a hard choice. I still believe in retrospect the right choice” Comey told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I can’t consider for a second whose political fortunes will be affected.”
He said it would have been a “catastrophic” act of concealment if he had not spoken out about the discovery of emails related to the probe on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Comey’s defense of the FBI decision comes a day after Clinton said that she would have been elected president if the vote had been held on October 27.
“It makes me mildly nauseous to think we had an impact on the election,” Comey said.
Senators also asked about the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump and his associates with Russia, as well as into the Kremlin’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Comey announced in July that he had closed the probe into Clinton’s emails before reopening it days before the election. However, it was not until March 20 that Comey confirmed that the bureau was looking into Russia’s involvement in the election, including alleged links between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
“It’s still very unclear ‒ and I hope, director, that you will clear this up ‒ why the FBI’s treatment of these two investigations was so dramatically different,’’ Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said, noting that the FBI “summarily refused to even acknowledge the existence of any investigation.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) asked a similar question, wondering if it was “appropriate for you to comment on one investigation repeatedly and not say anything about the other?”
“I think so,” Comey replied. “I think I treated both investigations consistently under the same principles. People forget we would not confirm the existence of the Hillary Clinton email investigation until three months after it began, even though it began with a public referral and the candidate herself talked about it.”
Once it was confirmed in October 2015, Comey added, the FBI said “not a peep about it” until the investigation was closed. The only reason he sent the October 2016 letter to Congress about reopening the Clinton probe was because he had “testified under oath repeatedly that we were done.”
In his response to questioning by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) about Wikileaks, Comey refused to comment because he didn’t want to confirm whether or not there are charges pending for founder Julian Assange, but noted that “Wikileaks is an important focus of our attention.”
Wikileaks “crosses a line when it moves from being about trying to educate a public, and instead just becomes about intelligence porn,” Comey said. The organization just “pushes out information… without regard to the First Amendment values… and simply becomes a conduit for the Russian intelligence services… to damage the United States.”
More Fake News to Whitewash the White Helmets?
[Editor’s note: This may well be a totally fabricated story intended to garner sympathy for the ‘brave work’ of the noble White Helmets. Of course, VT readers are well aware that this is a load of nonsense and the White Helmets are scum who work hand in hand with the assorted mercenary headchoppers polluting Syria. The source of this tale of woe is yet again, the SOHR, which is nothing more than a fat, sweaty little turd of a man sat in a house in Coventry, England pumping out Fake News on behalf of the intel services and always aimed at damaging the Assad government. So they may well have made the whole thing up and no White Helmets were harmed in the production of this fantasy tale. Ian]
Airstrike in Syria’s Hama kills eight White Helmets rescuers
Airstrikes struck a center of Syria’s rescuers known as the White Helmets in a rebel-held area in the country’s center, killing eight volunteers, opposition activists said Saturday.
The airstrike was one of the deadliest against the rescuers who operate in opposition-held areas and who have garnered world attention for operating in extreme conditions, pulling survivors out of recently struck areas. The volunteers have often been targeted by government airstrikes, in what are known as ‘double tap’ attacks, as they work to rescue others.
The local White Helmets in the central Hama province said an air raid on one of their centers in Kfar Zeita killed eight members of the team. The group said five bodies were lifted from the rubble and the rescuers continued to look for the others.
The Britain-based opposition monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the number of those killed is likely to rise as the search mission continues.
Civil defence members searching for survivors under the rubble, Syria April 28, 2017. (Reuters)
It was not clear who carried out the airstrikes, as Syrian government and Russia aircraft have targeted opposition-held areas. The central Hama province have been scene to intense violence in recent weeks, as the government attempts to push back a rebel offensive.
Separately Saturday, Syria’s military said its troops and allied fighters repelled an attack by the ISIS group on a strategic area held by the government in southern Aleppo province.
The attack took place in Khanaser, southeast Aleppo – a strategic region that links Aleppo with central and western Syria. The area has changed hands many times during the conflict. But last year, government troops and allied fighters wrested control of Khanaser from ISIS.
The military media arm said ISIS attacked Um Mayyal village near a mountain range in Khanaser and other areas.
The Observatory said ISIS fighters launched the attack on military posts in the area, triggering intense clashes and leaving many casualties.
ISIS-affiliated Aamaq news agency claimed ISIS fighters killed 30 government soldiers in the attack.
Near the capital, hundreds of Syrians from the rebel-held suburbs of eastern Ghouta near Damascus protested against infighting between the insurgent groups that began Friday and left dozens killed in the area.
The infighting came amid an intensified government offensive in the area near Damascus, which the rebels have controlled for years but has been increasingly squeezed by government advances.
“God rid us of all leaders,” the protesters chanted, criticizing the head of the insurgent groups for diverting their weapons from the front line with the government.
The infighting is pitting the powerful Army of Islam group against al-Rahman Corps and al-Qaida-linked group the Levant Liberation Committee, or Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Each side blames the other for triggering the fighting in the power struggle over control of eastern Ghouta. Some activists have called on Army of Islam to rid eastern Ghouta of the powerful al-Qaida-linked group.
The Observatory said shots were fired at the protesters in one area, leaving five injured.
In 24 hours of fighting, the Observatory said at least 38 insurgents from the warring sides were killed. Damascus-based Shaam News Network put the number at 60, in addition to six civilians killed because of the clashes.
For the past three years, the government has been unable to regain control of the eastern suburbs of Damascus. But in recent weeks, an intensified offensive points to a new determination to retake the area.
On Saturday, activists reported a heavy air campaign against the area’s Qaboun neighborhood.
US House Bill on Port Controls Amounts to ‘Declaration of War’ – Russian Senator
A US House of Representatives bill establishing control over the Russian Far East ports envisions a show of force and thus amounts to a declaration of war, the chairman of the Russian upper house of parliament’s international committee told Sputnik.
“This bill, I hope will never be implemented because its implementation envisions a scenario of power with forced inspections of all vessels by US warships,” Konstantin Kosachev said Friday.
His comments follow the reported passage on Thursday of a House bill enhancing sanctions against North Korea, outlining “inspection authorities” over Chinese, Iranian, Syrian and Russian ports. The latter include the ports of Nakhodka, Vanino and Vladivostok.
“Such a power scenario is beyond comprehension, because it means a declaration of war,” Kosachev underscored.