Nearly one month into the young presidency of Hillary Clinton, The Wall Street Journal publishes reports that Huma Abedin, now working as a Senior Advisor in the White House, is currently under investigation by the FBI for unreported ties to Iran and Iranian lobbyists. It is also reported that the Iranians knew certain payments and meetings were left off of Abedin’s security clearance application, thus compromising Abedin and opening her to a threat of blackmail.
Allegedly, Abedin made several contacts with key Iranian diplomats to suggest offers during the transition to renegotiate the Iran deal with the promise of lessing even more sanctions and helping to rebuild their economy. There are also reports of her contacts or ongoing relationships with Iranian surrogates during the 2016 campaign. Finally, The Journal notes that the White House was informed of this information two weeks prior, but that there appears to be no change in Abedin’s position within the White House.
After the report is published, Vice President Tim Kaine is embarrassed and enraged, for he had spoken on Sunday morning talk shows regarding concerns about Abedin last month when he publicly denied any efforts by the Clinton Transition Team to discuss sanctions with Iran. Abedin had lied to him. The Vice President is so upset by these reports and his damaged credibility that President Clinton decides she has no choice, regrettably, but to fire Abedin. She releases comments a few days later blaming the press for reporting about these leaks and suggests she already misses having Abedin – who in her view has done nothing wrong – as part of her team.
In the following weeks, the concern about Iran and potential ties to the Clinton administration grows. Congress opens multiple investigations into the possible connections and conflicts of interest between the campaign and Iran. It is leaked to the press that the NSA believes that an Iranian hacker was behind the release of sensitive financial information about Donald Trump a week before the election, widely speculated to have contributed “Bigly” to his loss. Multiple members of congress, both Republicans and Democrats, confirm this report to the press.
Tensions between President Clinton and the FBI Director remain high. The White House continues to insist that there has been no wrong doing on the part of either the Clinton Campaign or the Clinton Transition Team.
After failing to get key legislation through Congress, and one week after Director Comey testified that there was an open investigation into ties between the Clinton Campaign/Transition and Iran, Hillary Clinton fires James Comey. In an abrupt letter released to the public, she thanks him for informing her three times that she is not under investigation by the FBI for any ties to Iran.
An accompanying statement says she made this decision on advisement of a memo authored by the newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General. Director Comey finds out about this decision from a cable news ticker while addressing FBI agents in LA.
The White House appears caught off guard by the actions of President Clinton, briefing reporters among the WH bushes in the early evening hours and suggests they have no immediate plans to announce a replacement. White House aides, the Vice President, and the Assistant Press Secretary claim the next day that the rationale behind this decision was related to how Director Comey handled public statements during the 2016 campaign season and that she took acted under advisement of the memo from the Justice Department.
The next day, Presdient Clinton hosts the Iranian ambassador and foreign minister at the White House where they hold a private meeting in the Oval Office closed to American journalists. Within 24 hours, pictures emerge from the meeting on Iranian State television. President Clinton appears down right giddy.
Several days later, under a public backlash to the decision of firing Director Comey, Presdient Clinton has a sit down interview with Lester Holt where she insists that she has no ties to Iran, that she was very frustrated by the investigations, and that she decided to fire Comey on her own, before receiving the memo from the Justice Department. She notes her frustrations over how the FBI Director handled her email investigation, but implies her decision was linked to frustrations about the growing Iran investigation. She goes on to insult and question Director Comey’s character in her defense.
Over the next several weeks, information is leaked to the press nearly every day. More Clinton associates are reportedly linked to Iran or Iranian associates, including daughter Chelsea who is now working in the White House and receiving intelligence briefings. Evidence mounts that Iran did seek to meddle in our election. A special prosecutor is eventually appointed to investigate the entire Iran controversy, including efforts to influence the election and any possible collusion with the Clinton campaign.
After many weeks of speculation and shocking leaks, Fmr. Director Comey confirmed via congressional testimony that shortly after the inauguration Hillary Clinton asked – in a closed door, one on one meeting – for the FBI Director’s loyalty, saying “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”
On a separate occasion, also alone with him, she brought up the Abedin investigation, saying that Abedin hadn’t done anything wrong in speaking with the Iranians, noted that she was such a nice and loyal friend, and told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Abedin go.”
In subsequent phone calls, she requests that he “lifts the cloud” on this whole Iran investigation and strongly and repeatedly presses him to make public statements clearing her name of any wrongdoing in the situation. He chose not to do this during the public hearing before Congress and instead confirmed the existence of ongoing investigations. One week later he was abruptly fired.
No big deal, right? What a witch hunt.
First published here.