I’m so old, I remember when the breaking news was that James Comey was fired because he sought additional resources from the Department of Justice for the Russia investigation.

The New York Times broke the story on May 10, 2017, Days Before Firing, Comey Asked for More Resources for Russia Inquiry:

Days before he was fired as F.B.I. director, James B. Comey asked the Justice Department for more prosecutors and other personnel to accelerate the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.

It was the first clear-cut evidence that Mr. Comey believed the bureau needed more resources to handle a sprawling and highly politicized counterintelligence investigation.


The Washington Post reported the story also on May 10, 2017, so it must have been true since the two major newspapers in the country were saying it was so, Comey sought more resources for Russia probe days before he was fired by President Trump, officials say:

Last week, then-FBI Director James B. Comey requested more resources from the Justice Department for his bureau’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, according to two officials with knowledge of the discussion.

Comey, who was fired by President Trump on Tuesday, made the request in a meeting last week with Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and later briefed the chair and Democratic ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, the officials said…..

The news was first reported by the New York Times.


Reuters, NBC News, and many other major news organizations ran the story.

But it turns out the story was not true. DOJ immediately denied the story as did the Acting Director of the FBI.

That denial apparently was confirmed yesterday in closed-door testimony by Rod Rosenstein:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday that contrary to recent media reports, he wasn’t aware of any request from the FBI for additional resources on its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I am not aware of any such request. Moreover, I consulted my staff and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and none of them recalls such a request,” Mr. Rosenstein told House members in an all-member briefing, according to prepared remarks released by the Justice Department.
Lawmakers who were in the briefing seized on Mr. Rosenstein’s testimony as proof that some of the reports surrounding the circumstances of FBI Director James B. Comey’s firing weren’t accurate.

“There was a lot of reporting … claiming, wrongfully, that Director Comey had requested additional resources from Mr. Rosenstein with regards to the Russia investigation,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, New York Republican. “Mr. Rosenstein said that’s not true.”

“He’s asked others at DOJ,” Mr. Zeldin said. “None of the people he spoke to have received that request from Director Comey requesting additional resources for the Russia investigation. I asked him specifically, ‘Is that unclassified?’ He said yes.

A different type of invented news was published last night by CNN, First on CNN: Comey now believes Trump was trying to influence him, source says

Former FBI Director James Comey now believes that President Donald Trump was trying to influence his judgment about the Russia probe, a person familiar with his thinking says, but whether that influence amounts to obstruction of justice remains an open question.

“You have to have intent in order to obstruct justice in the criminal sense,” the source said, adding that “intent is hard to prove.”
Comey will testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee after Memorial Day, the panel’s leaders announced Friday.
The central question at that blockbuster hearing will be whether Comey believed the President was trying to interfere with his investigation…..

Comey’s view of Trump’s intent in their conversations is nuanced, sources say. He initially believed that he could school the new President and White House in what was appropriate during their communications.

But after his firing, the question of Trump’s intent could become more problematic, one source said. Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview that he was thinking “of the Russia thing” when he dismissed Comey.

There is so much wrong with this story, it’s hard to know where to start. First, it’s not even news. It makes no difference what Comey’s subjective impression was (and of course, if that subjective impression changed after firing, that helps Trump). Second, it’s the worst type of sourcing: Someone who knows Comey says …. CNN is just creating “news” for the sake of keeping the news cycle pressure on Trump.

These are just two recent examples of a flood of hyperbole and misinformation based on anonymous sourcing. Vox has (shock!) a good article on the cabal of Twitter (Louise Mensch, John Schindler, Claude Taylor) users flooding the zone with conspiracy theories, Democrats are falling for fake news about Russia


I don’t believe a word the mainstream media or Twitter conspiracy theorists says about Trump unless confirmed by on-the-record evidence. That’s been my point for months about the Russia-mania conspiracy theories, The fact-free Intelligence Community-Media trial of Trump by innuendo:

I don’t know whether Donald Trump or his aides had any improper contacts with Russian Intelligence officers.

Neither do you, or the media. The Intelligence Community might know, but they have provided zero facts either officially or through leaks to prove any improper, much less illegal, conduct took place.

Instead, we have trial by innuendo based on there being “contacts” between Trump campaign aides and Russian intelligence….

In this fact-free environment, imaginations and malicious intentions can run wild. We have round-the-clock media and social media speculation and frenzy throwing around terms like impeachment, treason, and so on.

It is, in some ways, worse than harmful facts, because there is no clear accusation against which to defend, and no factual basis upon which the public can judge.

It’s a point I have been making over and over again, but it’s likely to get me labeled an “anti-anti-Trumpist” by Republican NeverTrumpers.

In a time of universal deceit, demanding actual evidence is a revolutionary act.*


*As an aside, the phrase “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” usually is attributed to George Orwell, but that sourcing is questionable.