On Obama’s last day in office, January 20, 2017, National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote an email memo to herself (pdf.) regarding the investigation into Michael Flynn and a January 5, 2017, meeting attended by Obama, Biden, Rice, Sally Yates, and James Comey. The email was mostly public previously, though supposedly classified portions were redacted.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell just declassified most of the rest of the memo.

That declassified portion provided, as to the January 5 meeting:

Director Corney affirmed that he is proceeding “by the book” as it relates to law enforcement. From a national security perspective, Camey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Camey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information. President Obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pass sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied ”potentially.” He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that “the level of communication is unusual.”

The President asked Corney to in.form him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Corney said he would.

The significance of that portion is that it shows Flynn was doing nothing wrong. His conversations, as incoming National Security Advisor, were not illegal.

It also shows how granular Obama’s involvement was. Remember, Sally Yates said she was shocked to find out from Obama about the surveillance of Flynn:

“Yates had no idea what the president was talking about, but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act, but can’t recall if he specified there was an ‘investigation.’ Comey did not talk about prosecution in the meeting.”

It was not clear to Yates from where the President first received the information. Yates did not recall Comey’s response to the President’s question about how to treat Flynn. She was so surprised by the information she was hearing that she was having a hard time processing it and listening to the conversation at the same time.”

But what’s most important to me is what we’ve known for a while from the previously disclosed portions. Rice felt the need on her last day on the job to write a CYA memo that three times used the term “by the book.”

“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book”. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”

“Director Corney affirmed that he is proceeding “by the book” as it relates to law enforcement.”

Who writes such a memo (Rice) and who speaks those words (Obama, Comey)? If you are actually playing by the book, you don’t need to say you are playing by the book.

It’s a consciousness of guilt of people who may not have expected the Barr Inquisition (no one does), but who knew they were doing something untoward.

Maybe illegal, maybe not, but something on which the light of day would not reflect kindly. Hence, the memo to throw some shade.

[Featured Image: Then Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice describing the role of a video in the Benghazi attack, September 2012]


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