Joe Biden and the Framing of Trump: He Was in the Room
Uncle Joe is officially in the race for President, and no, his slogan isn’t “Hands Across America.” Or “The Smell of Greatness.” Or even, given his penchant for political plagiarism, “Make America Great Again.”
Actually, the first thing that popped into my head, uninvited, when I heard Joe Biden had made his announcement was, “He was in the room.”
Took me a sec to figure out what I meant.
“He Was in the Room”
January 5, 2017. Oval Office. Vice President Joe Biden was in on the meeting with President Obama, FBI director James Comey, anti-Trump DOJ official Sally Yates, unmasking queen Susan Rice, virulent trump hater CIA director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence turned CNN talking head James Clapper.
The topic was the Russia investigation. Sort of. The true topic was what to do about President-elect Trump. How much were they going to tell him about the investigation into the Russians? Or what we now know was a counter-intelligence operation against him.
This was the meeting Rice strangely recounted in a letter to herself minutes after Trump’s inauguration. The meeting where, according to Rice, Obama insisted everybody do things “by the book.” Why wouldn’t things be done by the book? Why say it? Can anyone say C-Y-A? (And what book are we talking about anyway? Clearly it wasn’t a law book. And God knows they didn’t have much use for the Good Book. I want to see this book. Can you get it on Amazon? And who but the grizzled chief in every ’80s cop buddy movie says “I want it done by the book” anyway?)
It was out of that meeting, according to Comey, that Clapper suggested Comey only tell Trump about the salacious details in the Steele Dossier. Comey flies to Trump Tower to “warn” Trump about the dirt, and that CNN is holding back on the dossier because they hadn’t found a news hook yet. “Somehow,” by the time Comey can even hail a cab back to the airport, CNN knows about his Trump Tower briefing. They have their hook. The Steele dossier is unleashed. (How’d you spend those 30 coins of silver, Clapper?)
Remember: Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Yates knew for a fact that the dossier was Hillary’s work and was junk. Bruce Ohr makes that clear in his sworn testimony. The New York Times’ (belated) article on how the CIA was pushing the bogus document is further indication.
Yet the FBI director — guided by the Director of National Intelligence — did not tell Trump that. They did not make the President-elect of the United States aware that a lurid dossier set to go public accusing him of conspiring with Russia — of being, in essence a traitor — was the work of Clinton and the DNC. Why? Because if they told Trump the truth, the Steele Dossier would be a one-day story. Or at best the collusion narrative would be immediately exposed as an anti-Trump concoction.
Put aside your loathing of the Big Orange Monster for five seconds. How on earth can you think what these top security officials did was right? Ethical? In keeping with their oath? Impossible.
Back to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Now back to the Oval Office. Everyone walking into Oval with Obama and Biden that January day knew the dossier was Hillary’s. Knew it was unverified. Knew Steele had an axe to grind even Paul Bunyan couldn’t have lifted.
Are we expected to believe all those people knew about the dossier and did not tell the President and Vice President at that meeting? (Or at any point prior?) That the Trump Tower “just the salacious material” strategy wasn’t part of the mix?
For that matter, given Lisa Page’s text a few months prior that “POTUS wants to know everything we are doing?” wouldn’t we have to assume that “everything” included the truth about the dossier?
Actually, we have a very strong indicator that Obama knew. And Joe Biden, too. How do we know? When news broke publicly that the Steele Dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton, they didn’t raise bloody murder. They should have been furious that the people below them had spun them a tale of Russia collusion, pressing a phony bit of campaign literature, what The New York Times is now calling possible Russian disinformation.
As former stewards of the two highest offices in the land, Barack Obama and Joe Biden should be the loudest calling for every bit of truth to be revealed. But they were not, and they are not.
So, welcome to the 2020 race, Joe.
While many are rightly concerned with the question, “Who did you inappropriately sniff and when did you sniff them?” I am gravely concerned about the question “What did you know and when did you know it?”
Post-Script: But Wait! There’s More. The Ukraine Collusion
Uncle Joe has more explaining to do. Last evening, John Solomon dropped another bombshell. The Obama Administration’s effort to dirty Trump up with alleged Russian connections began in January 2016. (at the latest.) Out of the blue, Obama reopened an investigation into Paul Manafort that had been closed in 2014. He asked the Ukrainian government for help. Solomon reports there was a series of meetings in January 2016 between top Ukrainian and U.S. officials.
Sure enough, the Ukrainians handed over information on Manafort getting secret lobbying payments from a pro-Russia group in the Ukraine. Information known in 2014. Just ten days after Manafort became Trump’s campaign manager those details were leaked. Leaked as part of the Ukrainian government’s efforts to help the Clinton campaign. (Yes, she colluded with a foreign government.) This was the earliest incarnation of the Trump-Russia narrative.
Yes, the Ukrainian government was very helpful. Joe Biden can tell you how helpful. Biden openly brags that in March 2016 he threatened to block a billion dollars in aid if they didn’t fire a particular prosecutor.
What Amtrak Joe leaves out is that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was investigating a company called Burisma that had been paying Hunter Biden — Joe’s son — millions of dollars.
In this case, we know what Joe knew. We know when he knew it. The question is, “When will he be held to account for it?”
Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, and co-author with @JZmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl. And if you aren’t already, please follow The Stream at @Streamdotorg.