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Clinton team ‘didn’t trust’ FBI in 2016, accuses Comey of ‘most damaging campaign days’: Mook’s testimony


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WASHINGTON, DC — Former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Friday that campaign officials “didn’t trust” the FBI in 2016 and said some of the campaign’s “most damaging days” had been caused by former FBI Director James Comey, “not Trump.”

Mook was called to the stand by the defense of Michael Sussmann on Friday, and was asked whether he or any Clinton campaign officials authorized the defendant to provide the FBI with information alleging a secret communication channel between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa Bank.

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“No,” Mook said.

The defense asked Mook if the campaign “would have wanted to engage with the FBI” in September 2016.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton arrive for Trump’s presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
(REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool)

“This was alarming information…if verified, we would want to get the information out to the public, but going to the FBI doesn’t seem like the best way to communicate with the public,” Mook said.

“As for the FBI, as I’m sure they’re patriotic people, we didn’t trust them,” Mook explained. “Two or three of the most damaging days of the campaign were caused by Comey, not by Trump.”

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Mook slammed Comey, saying he ‘broke protocol’ and referenced public statements he made regarding the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and handling of classified information .

Clinton team ‘didn’t trust’ FBI in 2016, accuses Comey of ‘most damaging campaign days’: Mook’s testimony

FBI Director James Comey is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2016, before testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to explain his agency’s recommendation not to prosecute the candidate Democrat Presidential Hillary Clinton because of her private email. implement.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Comey on July 5, 2016, announced in a rare press conference that he would not press charges against Clinton, claiming she was “grossly negligent” in her handling of classified information on her private email server.

But months later, on October 28, 2016, Comey sent a letter to Congress, noting the bureau’s discovery of emails belonging to Clinton and his aide Huma Abedin on a laptop belonging to Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner.

Those emails reopened the FBI’s investigation into Clinton, known as the “Midyear Exam” or “MYE,” just a week before the 2016 presidential election.

Clinton team ‘didn’t trust’ FBI in 2016, accuses Comey of ‘most damaging campaign days’: Mook’s testimony

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin attend a press conference in New York, United States on July 23, 2013. Photo
(REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File)

“So we didn’t trust the FBI at that time,” Mook said. “And so much so that Comey invited some of us to a briefing shortly before the election on election security. We didn’t go because we just didn’t want to have anything to do with the organization at that time, nor engage in it in that way.”

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Clinton has repeatedly blamed Comey and the FBI investigation into “Those Damn Emails” (the title of a chapter in his book “What Happened”) for contributing to the loss of his second presidential race.

“If the election were on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said in May 2017.

Mook’s testimony comes as part of the trial of Sussmann, who is accused of making a false statement to the FBI. Sussmann told then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016, less than two months before the presidential election, that he was not working “for any client” when he requested and attended a meeting in which he presented “alleged data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a ‘secret communication channel’ between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

Clinton team ‘didn’t trust’ FBI in 2016, accuses Comey of ‘most damaging campaign days’: Mook’s testimony

Attorney Michael Sussmann leaves the US Federal Courthouse after opening arguments for his trial in Washington, DC
(REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson)

Durham’s team alleges that Sussmann actually worked for two clients: Hillary Clinton’s campaign and a technology manager, Rodney Joffe. Following the meeting with Baker, Sussmann billed the Hillary Clinton campaign for her work.

Sussmann pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Baker testified Thursday that the FBI investigated Sussmann’s data alleging a connection between Trump and the Kremlin-linked bank, and found “there was nothing in it.”

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The administration, in its opening statement Tuesday, argued that Sussmann’s handing over of the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations to the FBI was part of the Clinton campaign’s plan to create an “October surprise” against the presidential candidate. the time, Donald Trump.

When asked for the definition of an “October surprise” on Friday, Mook testified that it was “the idea that you have a devastating search for the opposition and you drop it on the candidate so that the candidate does not have time to respond or recover and, as a result, loses the election.”

Comey reopened the investigation into the Clinton emails on October 28, 2016, and days later Clinton first tweeted about the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations.

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The government decided to admit a tweet from Clinton dated Oct. 31, 2016, into evidence, despite U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper’s ruling last month that the court would exclude the tweet as hearsay.

Cooper on Friday granted the government’s motion to admit Clinton’s tweet, which stated, “Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a secret server linking the Trump organization to a Russian-based bank.”

Clinton team ‘didn’t trust’ FBI in 2016, accuses Comey of ‘most damaging campaign days’: Mook’s testimony

In this Jan. 13, 2017, photo, President-elect Donald Trump talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City.
(AP)

Clinton also shared a statement from Jake Sullivan, who said, “This may be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have discovered a secret server linking the Trump Organization to a bank based in Russia.

Sullivan said “the secret hotline could be the key to unraveling the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”

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“This line of communication may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout this campaign,” Sullivan’s 2016 statement continued. even more troubling questions in light of Russia’s staging of hacking efforts that are clearly aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

Sullivan added that they “can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct link between Trump and Russia as part of their existing investigation into Russian interference in our elections.”

When asked if the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations were part of the campaign plan for an “October surprise,” Mook defended the Oct. 31, 2016 tweet, saying, “I didn’t see it as kind of a silver bullet and I don’t think anyone else on the campaign did either.”

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Meanwhile, Mook said Friday that Clinton approved the release of documents alleging a secret communication channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank to the media, though campaign officials are not “fully confident” in the release. the legitimacy of the data.

Clinton team ‘didn’t trust’ FBI in 2016, accuses Comey of ‘most damaging campaign days’: Mook’s testimony

Robby Mook, campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and communications director Jen Palmieri (left), chat with reporters aboard the campaign plane en route to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, States States, October 28, 2016.
(Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Mook said he discussed whether to give the information to a reporter with senior campaign officials, including campaign chairman John Podesta, the senior political adviser, now the national security adviser. of the White House Jake Sullivan, and communications director Jennifer Palmieri.

“I also discussed it with Hillary,” Mook said.

“I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, but theoretically the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter,” Mook said.

The government asked Mook if Clinton approved of the “release” of the data to the media.

“She agreed,” Mook said.

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Mook later said he “didn’t remember the exact sequence of events,” when asked if he agreed with giving the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations to the media with Clinton before or after. decision making.

“All I remember is that she was okay with the decision,” Mook said.

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