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How Trump took a misleading story on James Comey and turned it into a total fabrication

July 10, 2017 aurorax 0

Trump’s fake attack against James Comey, explained.

Former FBI Director James Comey pauses during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 8, 2017, in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Did James Comey leak classified information to the press?

There is absolutely no evidence or reporting that he did. But that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from making the claim on Twitter.

James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!

 — @realDonaldTrump

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI director James Comey did admit that he gave a memo he had written summarizing a meeting he had with President Trump to a friend and asked him to share it with a reporter.

The Hill reported this morning, citing “officials familiar with the documents,” that “more than half” of the memos Comey created summarizing his meetings with Trump contained classified information.

According to The Hill, there were seven memos produced by Comey about his meetings with Trump and four of them contained classified information. Comey, according to his testimony, gave one to the press. Was it one of the memos that contained classified info? The Hill article does not say that it was.

But Comey, as the Washington Post notes, made clear in his Senate testimony that the memo he gave to the press, detailing his February 14th meeting with Trump, was specifically written to exclude classified information.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.): I found it very interesting that, that in the memo that you wrote after this February 14th pull-aside, you made clear that you wrote that memo in a way that was unclassified. If you affirmatively made the decision to write a memo that was unclassified, was that because you felt at some point, the facts of that meeting would have to come clean and come clear, and actually be able to be cleared in a way that could be shared with the American people?

Comey: Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work. I need to document it and preserve it in a way, and this committee gets this but sometimes when things are classified, it tangled them up.

Warner: Amen.

Comey: It’s hard to share within an investigative team. You have to be careful how you handled it for good reason. If I write it such a way that doesn’t include anything of a classification, that would make it easier for to us discuss within the FBI and the government, and to hold onto it in a way that makes it accessible to us.

The Hill report ignores this testimony and repeatedly suggests — without explicitly alleging it — that Comey leaked classified information, going into details on the potential legal violations and consequences.

The journey from the misleading Hill report to Trump’s tweet was assisted by Fox & Friends, which Trump watches religiously.

Report accuses material James Comey leaked to a friend contained top secret information https://t.co/Hkg4cAb6o9

 — @foxandfriends

The “report” did not make that accusation against Comey — although clearly that was the intention of the article.

The article was written by John Solomon, a top executive with Sinclair Media, which attracted controversy by making a deal with the Trump campaign to secure more access in exchange for more favorable, “straighter” coverage.


How Trump took a misleading story on James Comey and turned it into a total fabrication was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

No Picture

Fox News’ embarrassing, false attack on James Comey

June 23, 2017 aurorax 0

Reporting generally calls for checking sources before putting a story out.

James Comey with some of the kids who’ve benefited from CASA’s services. CREDIT: Maggie Haberman/Twitter

Conservative outlets are eager to feed Trump’s conspiracy-minded fanbase — and will seize on the tiniest scrap of information to support their efforts. The Daily Mail “reported” Thursday that Comey was seen with his wife entering the New York Times’ building. Suspiciously, the two were wearing sunglasses!

This prompted several pro-Trump outlets to speculate that Comey was doing an interview with the Times and possibly sharing more information that would hurt the President.

Fox News picked up the Daily Mail’s story about Comey’s “sneaky visit,” fueling conspiracy theories about Comey, Mueller, and the media all supposedly working together against Trump. It dovetailed nicely with an interview that aired later on Fox & Friends where he criticized Comey, Mueller and the investigation.

James Comey spotted walking into The New York Times building | @FoxFriendsFirst https://t.co/fzASKAODwp

 — @foxandfriends

All of this speculation was wrong. Comey, a foster parent, was attending an event at a law firm in the building in support of a charity that works to find safe homes for abused children.

The Times’ Maggie Haberman had already debunked Comey’s “sneaky visit” Thursday evening. He was in the Times’ building, but not the Times’ office.

Comey didn’t visit NYT newsroom. A person close to him said he and wife went to ceremony for CASA at Covington & Burling in NYT building.

 — @maggieNYT

Pic from Covington & Burling event, from person close to Comey

 — @maggieNYT

Another photo

 — @maggieNYT

Comey and his wife have been foster parents (context)

 — @maggieNYT

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. It’s a non-profit that “supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive.”

Eventually, the Fox News acknowledged the truth but insisted that the New York Times had now “set the record straight.”

NYT sets the record straight, saying Comey didn’t visit their offices yesterday but instead was in the building for a charity event https://t.co/aQvVu6k1GK

 — @foxandfriends

They did not admit that Haberman’s tweets debunking the Daily Mail story were published many hours before their own “reporting” about his “sneaky visit” aired Friday morning.


Fox News’ embarrassing, false attack on James Comey was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

No Picture

Fox News’ embarrassing, false attack on James Comey

June 23, 2017 aurorax 0

Reporting generally calls for checking sources before putting a story out.

James Comey with some of the kids who’ve benefited from CASA’s services. CREDIT: Maggie Haberman/Twitter

Conservative outlets are eager to feed Trump’s conspiracy-minded fanbase — and will seize on the tiniest scrap of information to support their efforts. The Daily Mail “reported” Thursday that Comey was seen with his wife entering the New York Times’ building. Suspiciously, the two were wearing sunglasses!

This prompted several pro-Trump outlets to speculate that Comey was doing an interview with the Times and possibly sharing more information that would hurt the President.

Fox News picked up the Daily Mail’s story about Comey’s “sneaky visit,” fueling conspiracy theories about Comey, Mueller, and the media all supposedly working together against Trump. It dovetailed nicely with an interview that aired later on Fox & Friends where he criticized Comey, Mueller and the investigation.

James Comey spotted walking into The New York Times building | @FoxFriendsFirst https://t.co/fzASKAODwp

 — @foxandfriends

All of this speculation was wrong. Comey, a foster parent, was attending an event at a law firm in the building in support of a charity that works to find safe homes for abused children.

The Times’ Maggie Haberman had already debunked Comey’s “sneaky visit” Thursday evening. He was in the Times’ building, but not the Times’ office.

Comey didn’t visit NYT newsroom. A person close to him said he and wife went to ceremony for CASA at Covington & Burling in NYT building.

 — @maggieNYT

Pic from Covington & Burling event, from person close to Comey

 — @maggieNYT

Another photo

 — @maggieNYT

Comey and his wife have been foster parents (context)

 — @maggieNYT

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. It’s a non-profit that “supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive.”

Eventually, the Fox News acknowledged the truth but insisted that the New York Times had now “set the record straight.”

NYT sets the record straight, saying Comey didn’t visit their offices yesterday but instead was in the building for a charity event https://t.co/aQvVu6k1GK

 — @foxandfriends

They did not admit that Haberman’s tweets debunking the Daily Mail story were published many hours before their own “reporting” about his “sneaky visit” aired Friday morning.


Fox News’ embarrassing, false attack on James Comey was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.