Fair and balanced and totally non-partisan
Spent too much time recently in the fact-free fever swamps of Salon comments. This was my antidote to that:
[Jim] Kallstrom is the former head of the New York FBI office, installed in that post in the ’90s by then-FBI director Louis Freeh, one of Giuliani’s longtime friends. Kallstrom has, like Giuliani, been on an anti-Comey romp for months, most often on Fox, where he’s called the Clintons as a “crime family.” He has been invoking unnamed FBI agents who contact him to complain about Comey’s exoneration of Clinton in one interview after another, positioning himself as an apolitical champion of FBI values.Many would say that nail was driven by Comey's press conference announcing there was no evidence for a prosecution, but berating and scolding Clinton all the same because: fair and balanced, or something.
Last October, after President Obama told 60 Minutes that the Clinton emails weren’t a national security issue, Megyn Kelly interviewed Kallstrom on Fox. “You know a lot of the agents involved in this investigation,” she said. “How angry must they be tonight?”
“I know some of the agents,” said Kallstrom. “I know some of the supervisors and I know the senior staff. And they’re P.O.’d, I mean no question. This is like someone driving another nail in the coffin of the criminal justice system.”
Kallstrom declared that “if it’s pushed under the rug,” the agents “won’t take that sitting down.” Kelly confirmed: “That’s going to get leaked.”
When Comey cleared Clinton this July, Kallstrom was on Fox again, declaring: “I’ve talked to about 15 different agents today—both on the job and off the job—who are basically worried about the reputation of the agency they love.” The number grew dramatically by Labor Day weekend when Comey released Clinton’s FBI interview and other documents, and Kallstrom told Kelly he was talking to “50 different people in and out of the agency, retired agents,” all of whom he said were “basically disgusted” by Comey’s latest release.
By Sept. 28, Kallstrom said he’d been contacted by hundreds of people, including “a lot of retired agents and a few on the job,” declaring the agents “involved in this thing feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back.” So, he said, “I think we’re going to see a lot more of the facts come out in the course of the next few months. That’s my prediction.”
Kallstrom, whose exchanges with active agents about particular cases are as contrary to FBI policy as Giuliani’s, formally and passionately endorsed Trump this week on Stuart Varney’s Fox Business show, adding that Clinton is a “pathological liar.”
Kallstrom, who served as a Marine before becoming an agent, didn’t mention that a charity he’d founded decades ago and that’s now called the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, was the single biggest beneficiary of Trump’s promise to raise millions for veterans when he boycotted the Iowa primary debate. A foundation official said that Trump’s million-dollar donation this May, atop $100,000 that he’d given in March, were the biggest individual grants it had ever received. The Trump Foundation had contributed another $230,000 in prior years and Trump won the organization’s top honor at its annual Waldorf Astoria gala in 2015.
The charity, which Kallstrom has chaired without pay since its founding, says it has given away $64 million in scholarships and other aid to veteran families. Rush Limbaugh is a director and has given it enormous exposure on his show and helped it fundraise. Its executive director also worked at the highest levels of New York Governor George Pataki’s Republican administration, and its vice president is also the regional vice president for Trump Hotels in the New York area. The FBI New York office, the charity’s 2015 newsletter noted, then employed 100 former Marines.
In a wide-ranging phone interview on Tuesday with The Daily Beast, Kallstrom first repeated his claim that he gets hundreds and hundreds of calls and emails but stressed they all came from retired agents, adding that he didn’t “want to talk about agents on the job.” Then he acknowledged that he did interact with “active agents.” The agents mostly contacted him before the recent Comey letter because “in all but two cases,” they agreed with what he was saying in his TV appearances, noting that those two exceptions both thought “I should be more supportive of Comey.”
Kallstrom adamantly denied he’d ever said he was in contact with agents “involved” in the Clinton case, insisting that he didn’t even know “the agents’ names.” He asked if this story was “a hit piece,” and contended that it was “offensive” to even suggest that he’d communicated with those agents. When I emailed him two quotes where he made that claim, he responded: “I know agents in the building who used to work for me. I don’t know any agents in the Washington field office involved directly in the investigation.”
Later, though he acknowledged that “the bulk” of the agents on the Weiner case are “in the New York office,” even as he insisted that the “locals” he told Pirro would’ve leaked the renewed probe had not Comey revealed it were not necessarily agents.
He declined to explain why Megyn Kelly stated as a fact that he was in contact with agents “involved” in the case. Asked in a follow up email if he suggested or encouraged any particular actions in his exchanges with active agents, Kallstrom replied: “No.”
“Now, I’m supporting Comey,” Kallstrom told me on the phone, adding that he can’t do or say anything else before election day. “He can’t characterize” what the bureau has from the Weiner emails. “The FBI can’t say anything without having all the information,” Kallstrom contends, just after telling me he supports the FBI director who’s under fire for having done just that.
And, though he predicted in September that more facts about the Clinton case would soon come out, he told me he was “surprised” by the Comey letter. Calling Giuliani a “very good friend,” who he’s
seen in TV studios a couple of times recently when they were both doing appearances, Kallstrom said he thought Giuliani was more likely referring to WikiLeaks revelations or videotapes from Project Veritas when he teased big surprises to come.
TC has posted extensively about Comey and the FBI recently, which made this line interesting:
But, as quiet as it’s kept, no Democrat has ever been appointed FBI director.
And the conclusion is fairly obvious:
Giuliani and Kallstrom claim that the agents revolting against Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton were doing it because they want apoltical investigations, with all targets treated the same. But neither of them, much less FBI brass or agents, were publicly upset when the worst Justice Department scandal in modern history exploded in 2007, with Karl Rove, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the Bush White House swamped by allegations that they’d tried to force out nine U.S. attorneys and replace them with “loyal Bushies,” as Gonzales’s chief of staff put it. Democratic officials, candidates and fundraisers were five times as likely to be prosecuted by Bush’s justice than Republicans.
Then at the top of the polls in the 2008 presidential race, Giuliani had to answer questions about it and said that he thought Gonzales should get “the benefit of the doubt,” calling him “a decent man” a few months before he resigned. “We should try to remove on both sides as much of the partisanship as possible,” lectured Giuliani. He recalled that strict rules were put into place while he was at the top levels of justice in the aftermath of Watergate limiting contact between law enforcement and political figures, a particular irony in view of the fact that he talks freely today about engaging in just such conversations on national television, oblivious to the fact that he is now a “political figure.”
It’s clear enough, though, why when Comey sent a note to FBI staff on Friday explaining his decision to inform Congress about the renewed Clinton probe, the scoop about that internal memo went to Fox News. Why Kallstrom gets booked to talked about the Clintons a “crime family.” Why Clinton Cash author Peter Schweitzer, caught in a web of Breitbart and Trump conflicts, would announce on Fox that he was asked in August to sit down with New York office FBI agents investigating the Clinton Foundation (with The New York Times reporting this week that the agents were relying largely on his discredited work when they pitched a fullscale probe).
Fox is the pipeline for the fifth column inside the bureau, a battalion that says it’s doing God’s work, chasing justice against those who are obstructing it, while, in fact, it’s doing GOP work, even on the eve of a presidential election.
And then there's this, in the Guardian today. Reuters also has something to say:
Two law enforcement sources familiar with the FBI’s New York Field Office, which initially discovered the emails, said a faction of investigators based in the office is known to be hostile to Hillary Clinton. A spokeswoman for the FBI’s New York office said she had no knowledge about this.
Well, the spokesperson wouldn't know anything, would they?
Indeed, how bad is it? Keeping in mind what Kallstrom said:
ABC News sources, however, indicated those statements — and the Fox News reports they’re based on — are inaccurate and without merit.
The sources acknowledged that the FBI began looking into the Clinton Foundation after the controversial book “Clinton Cash” was published last year. In particular, agents were trying to determine whether donations to the foundation may have been traded for access to Clinton while she was secretary of state.
In February, FBI agents presented their findings to senior FBI officials and prosecutors in the Justice Department’s public integrity section, sources said. But the prosecutors and senior FBI officials agreed that there was no clear evidence of wrongdoing and that a criminal case tied to the Clinton Foundation could not be made, according to the sources.
“It was not impressive,” one source said of the February presentation. “It was not something that [prosecutors] felt they could authorize additional steps for. They were not impressed with the presentation or the evidence — if you could even call it evidence to that point.”
Investigators and higher-ups have continued to discuss the matter, but there has been no change in posture, sources said. Authorities still believe there is no evidence of wrongdoing, and they do not believe there is a sufficient reason to pursue charges, according to the sources.
But the real problem is "Crooked Hillary" and the fact Comey wouldn't recommend an indictment.