10/17/20

Twitter, Facebook Cover-Ups A Seditious, Illegal In-Kind Contribution

By: Daniel John Sobieski

Are Jack Dorsey, who has lied to Congress, and Mark Zuckerberg, who has no love for freedom, democracy, and the Constitution, Russian assets? President Donald Trump was accused of being a Russian asset because Moscow’s operatives tried to influence American opinion by buying a few thousand dollars of Facebook ads while fake Twitter accounts planted dubious stories. So how are Twitter and Facebook not meddling in our elections by suppressing a major American newspaper’s URL for a story deemed harmful to one candidate in a presidential election?

If there ever was any doubt that the social media tech giants Twitter and Facebook were trying to meddle in the 2020 election in ways Russia’s Vladimir Putin could never dream of, and throw it to Joe Biden and the Democrats, their censorship of the New York Post bombshell that Ukraine officials were trying to, yes, literally buy influence with Joe Biden through his son Hunter Biden, removed it. As the New York Post itself reported:

Both Twitter and Facebook took extraordinary censorship measures against The Post on Wednesday over its exposés about Hunter Biden’s emails — with Twitter baselessly charging that “hacked materials” were used.

The suppression effort came despite presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign merely denying that he had anything on his “official schedules” about meeting a Ukrainian energy executive in 2015 — along with zero claims that his son’s computer had been hacked.

The Post’s primary Twitter account was locked as of 2:20 p.m. Wednesday because its articles about the messages obtained from Biden’s laptop broke the social network’s rules against “distribution of hacked material,” according to an email The Post received from Twitter.

Twitter also blocked users from sharing the link to The Post article indicating that Hunter Biden introduced Joe Biden to the Ukrainian businessman, calling the link “potentially harmful.”

Now Twitter and Facebook never had a problem with articles, tweets, and posts accusing President Trump of colluding with the Russians or conducting a #quid pro quo” anti-Biden scheme with Ukraine officials. There was no deleting tweets or posts or locking of accounts when social media was pushing claims of Trump collusion and corruption based on a phony Russian-source dossier paid for by Team Clinton and the DNC. There was no fact-checking on Obama administration leaks designed to falsely indict the Trump administration during the Mueller witch hunt or the Shifty Schiff impeachment hearings and Senate trial. But they certainly do with the extremely credible emails found on Hinter Biden’s own computer, according to the New York Post:

Users who clicked the link on Twitter were shown an alert warning them that the webpage may be “unsafe” and could contain content that would break Twitter’s rules if it were shared directly on the platform.

The extraordinary move came after Facebook said it would limit the spread of The Post’s story on its own platform. The social network added that the story would be eligible for review by independent fact-checkers.

US Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) fired off a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday demanding answers about why the platform “censored” The Post’s reporting.

This is not new, but especially blatant, coming as close to the election as it has and considering the legitimate bombshell details of the story exposing not only the corruption, lies, and hypocrisy of both Joe Biden and the Democrats but the extent to which social media giants Twitter and Facebook and even Google with its search engine have put their giant thumbs on the election scale in favor of one political party and one political candidate, namely Joe Biden.

Twitter and Facebook have long suppressed and deleted conservative thoughts, tweets, and posts containing information they don’t want the public to see. They flag posts they don’t delete outright with “fact-check” marks that take you to “fact-checkers” who will spoon-feed you the liberal version of events. This is Big Brother writ large. This is also an illegal in-kind campaign contribution to Trump’s opponents.

Modern-day campaigns are largely media operations with campaigns raising and spending huge sums on media to get their message out. Censoring campaign commentary and coverage that benefits one side and helps to spread its message while suppressing the other side’s favorable commentary and coverage is an in-kind campaign contribution of incalculable value and effect.

The contents of the damning tweets reported by the New York Post have not been disputed by the Biden campaign and if they are manufactured and false, that should be easy to prove. Would a major American newspaper risk its credibility and very existence for a phony October surprise?  They are certainly more credible than the fake Russian dossier that critics of the Post lavishly spread across all media platforms.

And they are damning as they show that Hunter Biden and the rest of what might be called the Biden crime family used Joe Biden’s name and office to enrich themselves and that Joe Biden not only knew about it, but also aided and abetted the crime spree, and benefitted from it himself. Joe Biden has been lying about Ukraine and his very own and very real quid pro quo as well as his and his son Hunter’s corruption.  As Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review:

According to a 2015 email, then–vice president Joe Biden met with a top executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that paid Biden’s son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to sit on its board. Earlier, the Burisma executive had asked Hunter to use his influence to quell Ukrainian government officials who were trying to extort the company. Months later, Vice President Biden coerced the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who says he was gearing up an investigation of Burisma….

Vice President Biden has insisted repeatedly that he had no involvement in Hunter’s foreign business dealings and never even discussed them with his son.

Yet, in an email on April 17, 2015, Vadym Pozharskyi, the Burisma executive, thanked Hunter for arranging a meeting for him with the vice president in Washington. A few months later, Vice President Biden squeezed the Ukrainian government to fire its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, who maintains that his office was preparing to investigate Burisma. Shokin was fired after the vice president threatened to withhold desperately needed American government aid.

Recounting his December 2015 meeting in Kyiv with Ukraine’s then-president, Petro Poroshenko, and then-prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Joe Biden has explained his threat to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine’s financially strapped government:

I looked at them and said: “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch, he got fired!

The former vice president related the incident during a 2018 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.

That both Hunter and Joe Biden were involved in influence peddling and jeopardizing U.S. national security by exposing themselves to future blackmail is clear from the emails from an unclaimed laptop belonging to Hunter Biden found in a computer repair shop. As McCarthy continues:

… on May 12, 2014, shortly after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board, Pozharskyi sent an email to Hunter Biden and his business partner, Devon Archer. In it, Pozharskyi explained that Ukrainian officials were pressuring the company — specifically, they were seeking “cash” payments from a man identified in the email as “N.Z.” The initials very likely refer to Zlochevsky, whose first name is rendered in English as Nicholas.

Pozharskyi reminded Hunter that he had informed Hunter on previous occasions that Ukrainian government officials, in unofficial “communications” that “entail blackmailing” N.Z., had indicated that if Burisma did not “cooperate,” N.Z.’s gas-production business would be destroyed by regulatory and other intimidating government action….

On April 17, 2015, Pozharskyi expressed gratitude to Hunter for arranging a meeting for him with Vice President Biden in Washington, D.C. As his email states:

Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s really an honor and pleasure. As we spoke yesterday evening, would be great to meet today for a quick coffee. What do you think? I could come to you [sic] office somewhere around noon or so, before or on my way to airport. Best, V

Biden defenders say that no such meeting was on his official calendar, therefore the meeting did not occur. Also not on Biden’s calendar was the January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with the likes of Susan Rice, Sally Yates, and President Obama himself in which Biden suggested the Logan Act might be used to frame Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in the Russia collusion hoax.  The coverage of and commentary on that hoax was not censored or fact-checked by Facebook or Twitter in any way because the target was Donald J. Trump. When real provable facts hurt Joe Biden, coverage and commentary are to be suppressed, in effect an in-kind contribution to Joe Biden and, by intending to help oust an incumbent President of the United States in an ongoing coup attempt, arguably seditious.

Election meddling, anyone? By “fact-checking” just tweets by President Donald J. Trump, and censoring stories harmful to his 2020 rival Joe Biden, Twitter  CEO Jack Dorsey shows he and other social media giants like him have both the power and the desire to swing elections and the power and desire to swing the 2020 election away from Trump and toward the incoherent Joe Biden who probably thinks tweeting is what those honking geese were doing outside his basement window.

That action, along with tagging another Trump tweet commenting on the need for law enforcement and civil and state authorities to confront rioting in Minneapolis as possibly promoting violence interferes with the 2020 election in ways that Vladimir Putin could only dream of. By controlling what we see and hear and know and think about, the Dorseys of the world can influence massive numbers of votes, more than could ever possibly be stolen by fraudulent mail-in voting schemes. Yes, these were in-kind contributions to the DNC and the Biden 2020 campaign, but they were also the tips of a political iceberg that threatens to sink our democracy. No amount of troll farms, hacking, planted bits and the like can interfere in our elections like Twitter, Google, and Facebook have already done and will continue to do unless President Trump gets reelected and controls both House of Congress to take the necessary remedial legislative action.

Having had one Twitter account permanently suspended for being ardently, and effectively, pro-Trump, with a second account currently temporarily suspended (this piece should do it), I can personally attest to Twitter’s ability and propensity to throttle, censor, and delete conservative thought. Through techniques and tools such as “shadow banning” and ”deboosting” you can pretty much end up tweeting to yourself, or a small limited group of followers.

Nearly two years ago, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz suggested that Twitter’s ongoing censorship amounted to an in-kind contribution to liberals and Democrats worthy of FEC sanctions. Gaetz has suggested that the biased treatment of conservative politicians on Twitter and “errors” that do not seem to affect progressive socialist Democrats may amount to an “in-kind” political contribution:

Rep. Matt Gaetz is considering filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over Twitter’s alleged suppression of his account, the Florida Republican told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday.

Gaetz was one of several prominent conservatives, including members of Congress and the chair of the Republican National Committee, whose accounts Twitter suppressed by making it harder to find in the site’s search function, a Vice News investigation published Wednesday found.

“Democrats are not being ‘shadow banned’ in the same way,” the report concluded, noting: “Not a single member of the 78-person Progressive Caucus faces the same situation in Twitter’s search.”

Twitter announced in May that the company would rely on “behavior-based signals” to boost the visibility of some accounts and to suppress the visibility of others as part of a step “to improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter.”

And what behavior-based signals would Twitter use? Conservative pro-Trump hashtags or themes perhaps? Indications of conservative support may already be employed in triggering shadow bans:

Covert (and overt) censorship of conservatives and right-wingers has been a reality on Twitter for some time. In January, Twitter employees were caught on camera discussing “shadowbanning” some conservative accounts, and classifying others as “bots” if they made too many tweets about “God, guns, and America.”

Thanks to James O’Keefe of Project Veritas we know some of the details of, methods, and reasons for Twitter’s pro-active censoring of conservatives:

Twitter direct messaging engineer Pranay Singh admitted to mass-banning accounts that express interest in God, guns, and America, during a Project Veritas investigation.

“Just go to a random [Trump] tweet and just look at the followers. They’ll all be like, guns, God, ‘Merica, and with the American flag and the cross,” declared Singh, who was secretly recorded by Project Veritas reporters. “Like, who says that? Who talks like that? It’s for sure a bot.”…

“So if there’s like ‘American, guns,’ [in the account bio] can you write an algorithm to just take all those people out?” asked one undercover reporter.

“Umm, yeah, it’s actually how we do it,” Singh replied. “You look for ‘Trump,’ or ‘America,’ or any of, like, five thousand, like, keywords to describe a redneck, and then you look, and you parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then look for stuff that matches that stuff… You assign a value to each thing, so like Trump would be .5, a picture of a gun would be like 1.5, and if the total comes up above a certain value, then it’s a bot.”

Does Twitter shadowban users who constantly say “Impeach 45” or “Trump is Putin’s puppet?” Planned Parenthood and its ilk are not affected so why should pro-life Christians who support the Second Amendment? Twitter only shadowbans conservatives. Twitter has also been known to play curious favorites, like the notorious Harvey Weinstein.

Twitter recently exercised its power to censor thought it doesn’t approve of by banning a pro-life ad from then- Tennessee GOP Rep. and Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn because it considered Blackburn’s pro-life rhetoric and denunciation of Planned Parenthood “inflammatory”: These are campaign contributions Jack Dorsey’s thumb is on the election scale tilting it towards liberals and Democrats. Yet nobody is shouting: “Twitter, Twitter, Twitter!” like they shouted “Russia, Russia, Russia!”

Jack Dorsey, who has lied to Congress about both his motives and intentions, is not alone in trying to manipulate election results, He has helped Facebook’s duplicitous Zuckerberg. Facebook once famously censored and branded as “dangerous racists” the iconic Internet duo Diamond and Silk.  And don’t forget the wonderful folks at Google who cried the night Hillary lost her inevitable victory. Together, they, not the Russians, pose a threat to our democracy by censoring and deleting information searches and exchanges. As Professor Robert Epstein, Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, former editor-in-chief of “Psychology Today,” Founder and Director Emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts, points out we quite literally won’t see it coming. As Epstein noted in an interview with Mark Levin on his Fox News show:

If Google’s search results for any reason, are biased to favor one candidate or one party for any reason; that will shift a lot of opinions about that candidate, and that will shift a lot of votes. And in fact, it can shift millions of votes.

It doesn’t matter whether an employee or an executive at Google did this deliberately. The algorithm alone, a computer program could be doing this and it will still affect the outcome of elections. …

In 2016, I set up the first-ever monitoring system that allowed me to look over the shoulders of a diverse group of American voters. There were 95 people in 24 states. I looked at politically oriented searches that these people were conducting on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I was able to preserve more than 13,000 searches and 98,000 web pages.

And I found very dramatic bias in Google search results — not Bing or Yahoo, just Google’s — favoring Hillary Clinton whom I supported strongly. But the point is, I reported that. I reported what I found and that level of bias was sufficient, I calculated, to have shifted over time, somewhere between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Hillary without anyone knowing that this had occurred….

Twitter has gone beyond enforcing rules of civility to enforcing its view of political correctness, punishing conservatives who use social media, particularly those who are good at it.

It is no accident. It is not an “error.” It is intentional. Ever since Twitter’s co-founder expressed regret in inadvertently helping Trump get elected, Twitter has mounted a deliberate campaign to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2020.

In the age before cable, there was an iconic sci-fi program called The Outer Limits whose opening featured a series of test patterns, flickering screens, and a narrator who solemnly intoned, “Do not attempt to adjust your television set. We will control all that you see and hear.” Today that is a chilling reality as social media giants like Twitter routinely censor what people can see and hear on their sites.

Twitter and the other social media giants need to know that George Orwell’s “1984” was a warning, not a technical manual.  Their insidious form of censorship goes beyond what even Big Brother could have dreamt of.

*Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

10/17/20

Truth: There are 600,000 Hillary Emails, not 30,000 per FBI

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Under former FBI Director Comey, the Bureau actually did manipulate political cases in 2016. Get set and read on.

This article is adapted from “October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Crashed an Election,” which will be published Sept. 22 by PublicAffairs. The book is a comprehensive, revealing, and dramatic look inside the bureau’s role in the 2016 presidential election.

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 — The pressure had been building on Special Agent John Robertson for weeks, and the case agent tasked with investigating former congressman Anthony Weiner’s digital correspondence with a 15-year-old girl felt a growing sense of alarm that the next casualty of this crazy presidential election would be his FBI career.

At first glance, Robertson did not look much like an FBI agent. He had long brown hair he often kept pulled back. He liked to say the long hair, combined with a frequent work wardrobe of jeans, flannel shirts, and T-shirts, softened his appearance and made it easier for victims of sex crimes to talk to him.

Among colleagues, Robertson was respected as a dedicated agent who had a knack for quickly developing a rapport with witnesses and victims. But this empathy also meant that at times he became emotionally invested in his cases.

After six years working organized and white-collar crime, Robertson had switched over to the FBI New York office’s C-20 unit, investigating sex crimes against children. These cases require the mental fortitude to sift through thousands of images of grotesque and often sadistic treatment of children. For that reason, the members of the C-20 squad are essentially volunteers. Under FBI rules, agents working those cases can raise their hands at any time and ask for a new assignment.

“They do say, before you come on this squad, be ready to lose your faith in humanity,” Robertson told the television show “Inside the FBI: New York.” But he added, “There’s a sense of satisfaction that I have not had anywhere else.”

Working out of his cubicle in an office building in Lower Manhattan, Robertson was pursuing allegations in September 2016 that Weiner had sent sexually explicit messages to a teenage girl in another state. The case was another major setback for Weiner, a politician who once seemed to have a bright future after rising from New York City councilman to leading member of Congress. He had already immolated his political career with not one but two separate sexting scandals — the second as he tried to make a comeback with a run for mayor of New York. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, had worked as a close aide to Hillary Clinton for years. After the texting allegation surrounding a teenage girl surfaced, Abedin announced she was separating from Weiner.

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Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, right, and her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, in 2013. Reuters

For Robertson, the Weiner case was not the problem. Or at least, it was not the biggest problem. The more pressing issue was the hundreds of thousands of Abedin’s emails, including many that were to or from Clinton, that Robertson had found on Weiner’s laptop in late September when he had gotten a search warrant to look for possible images of sex crimes involving children.

While the full role of Robertson in the investigation into Clinton’s emails is being described here for the first time, in 2018 RealClearInvestigations reported that he was the only male agent listed in court filings on the Weiner case and that Robertson worked on a New York squad investigating crimes against children.

After flagging the issue of the Abedin emails to his supervisors at the end of September, he had heard nothing.

“The crickets I was hearing was really making me uncomfortable because something was going to come down,” Robertson later told internal investigators. “Why isn’t anybody here? Like if I’m the supervisor of any [Counterintelligence] squad … and I hear about this, I’m getting on with headquarters and saying ‘hey some agent working child porn here may have [Hillary Clinton] emails. Get your ass on the phone, call [the case agent], and get a copy of that drive,’ because that’s how it should be.

And that nobody reached out to me within, like, that night, I still to this day don’t understand what the hell went wrong.”

Robertson was hoping to get some real answers or at least some assurance that the issue was not being swept under the rug. He wondered if the prosecutors on the Weiner case, Amanda Kramer and Stephanie Lake, could get the attention of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. Robertson thought Bharara might “kick some of these lazy FBI folks in the butt and get them moving.”

When he got to Kramer’s office on Oct. 19, she asked him, “What’s up?” Sitting in a chair, Robertson exhaled deeply and began talking, his knee pumping much of the time. He had told his bosses about the Clinton emails weeks ago. Nothing had happened. Or rather, the only thing that had happened was his boss had instructed Robertson to erase his computer work station. Ostensibly, that was to ensure there was no classified material on it. But it also meant there was no record of what Robertson had done, or had not done, with the laptop information. He was starting to feel like he was going to be made a scapegoat, and he was freaking out. He had already talked to a lawyer.

The prosecutors tried to both calm him down and warn him that going outside regular channels could destroy his career.

“I’m a little scared here,” he told Kramer and Lake. “I don’t care who wins this election, but this is going to make us look really, really horrible.” Chief among his concerns was that James B. Comey’s testimony to Congress in July and September about the number of Clinton emails at issue was now outdated and incorrect.

A big admirer of Comey, Robertson worried the FBI director had not been told what was going on, and that ignorance would come back to bite not just him but the entire FBI. And Robertson feared that when that happened, he, the lowly case agent, would be blamed.

The prosecutors, Kramer and Lake, thought Robertson was getting paranoid. They also gave him a blunt warning: If Robertson decided to tell outsiders about the emails, he could be prosecuted. The legal rationale behind such a scenario is faulty at best — the fact of the emails’ existence on the laptop was not classified. If Robertson had decided to tell a lawmaker or a reporter about them, that could be a fireable offense, but probably not a criminal one.

Rather than having his doubts and suspicions quelled by the prosecutors, he left the meeting even more alarmed.

The next day, the two prosecutors on the Weiner case were still worried about their case agent, and they thought he might act out in some way. So they went to see their bosses to talk about the laptop issue and Robertson’s concerns. Joon Kim, the second-in-command at the U.S. attorney’s office, decided to bring the issue to his boss Bharara. They wanted to take some action that would satisfy Robertson, but they also did not want to meddle in the FBI’s internal chain of command. Kim thought it was not really SDNY’s business.

Bharara was generally on the same page as Kim. If the agent was so agitated, the prosecutors should do something, but Bharara was wary of getting out of his lane on a high-profile case like the Clinton emails. Bharara’s office did not have a role in that investigation; he could not just go butting into it without potentially angering a whole slew of senior officials at both the Justice Department and the FBI. Better to reach out to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates’s office just to be safe, Bharara decided.

Robertson, however, continued to privately boil at the apparent inaction all around him. That lunch hour, he sat down at a computer and wrote an email with the subject “Letter to Self.”

In the coming years and months, FBI and Justice Department officials far higher up the chain — including Comey — would write similar memos, seeking to document sensitive conversations in real-time and protect their reputations as they dealt with investigations of political figures. Robertson’s email — which has not been previously disclosed — was the first in that pattern, revealing a crisis of conscience that would repeat and reverberate throughout the FBI, the Justice Department, and the country in ways no one could predict.

“I have very deep misgivings about the institutional response of the FBI to the congressional investigation into the Hillary Clinton email matter,” Robertson wrote, adding, “however, I am not an institutional representative of the FBI. I do not have the authority (or competence, I suppose) to make determinations of this nature.”

Robertson’s lawyer had told him to tell his boss, a supervisory special agent, and leave any further action to his superiors.

“Put simply: I don’t believe the handling of the material I have by the FBI is ethically or morally right. But my lawyer’s advice — that I simply put my SSA on notice should cover me — is that I have completed CYA, and I have done so,” Robertson wrote, using the acronym for “cover your ass.”

“Further, I was told by [Kramer] that should I ‘whistleblow,’ I will be prosecuted, and she wished to ‘talk me out of it’ should I want to whistleblow. I was informed that this material” — the Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop — “was obtained after the subpoena was served, and the subpoena is only for materials possessed at the time of service.”

He meant a Congressional subpoena for all Clinton emails in the FBI’s possession applied only to the original tranche of roughly 30,000 she had turned over from her server.

“I consider that lawyerly bulls—,” Robertson continued. “I possess — the FBI possesses — 20 times more emails than Comey testified to (approx. 30,000 I believe. I have 600,000+). While Comey did not know at the time about what I have, people in the FBI do now, and as far as I know, we are being silent. Further, while I have no authority in my warrant to look into the emails (and I have stuck to my limited search authority), the mere existence of these emails is sufficient to give me pause when I see that we (FBI) have been served with a subpoena for all materials related to HC.

“I am not going to whistleblow.

“If I say or do nothing more, I am falling short ethically and morally. And later, I may be accused of being a Hillary Clinton hack because of the timing of all this. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am apolitical.

“But if I say something (ie, whistleblow), I will lose my reputation, my career, and risk prosecution.

“I will also be accused of being a Donald Trump hack. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.”

“If this were for a cause greater than a politicized congressional investigation that will have no bearing on the outcome of a pathetic presidential race, I would consider speaking up against legal advice. But I suppose I shall lose sleep over this, and not my career and reputation.”

At 12:44, Robertson clicked Send on the email to himself. He had put it all down in writing, should someone come looking. He was certain someone would.

Despite Robertson’s doubts, or perhaps because of them, the wheels of bureaucracy were slowly starting to spin. The following week, a senior Justice official asked the FBI what was going on with the Weiner laptop.

At FBI headquarters, senior officials, having been told a month ago about the emails on the Weiner laptop and done little or nothing, scheduled a briefing for Comey for Thursday, Oct. 27.

Comey’s second-in-command, Deputy Director Andy McCabe, was out of town but called into the meeting, but after some prodding by Jim Baker, the FBI’s top lawyer, Comey suggested McCabe should back out of the discussion.

At the time, McCabe was under pressure over a story I had written about hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations that Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, had made to McCabe’s wife’s failed 2015 run for political office. FBI officials also knew I was working on a follow-up piece about internal FBI concerns over McCabe’s role in an investigation of the Clinton Foundation.

Publicly, the FBI staunchly defended McCabe, saying there was no ethical issue and he and the Bureau had done everything right. Privately, Comey and his senior advisers felt McCabe should step away from the Clinton cases.

“I don’t need you on this call,” Comey said finally to McCabe who grudgingly accepted his boss’s determination and hung up.

Once Comey and the rest of his aides got down to discussing the issue, they quickly agreed they needed to seek a search warrant for the Clinton emails on the Weiner laptop. Comey felt there was another, larger issue to be tackled: He believed he had an ethical obligation to notify Congress that the case was being reopened. That view was not shared by everyone around the table.

Over the course of two meetings on consecutive days, the group considered a number of scenarios, most of which involved the FBI being blamed in one form or another for helping elect Hillary Clinton. By their own measure, they did not discuss the other possibility — whether Trump could benefit and win, and if the FBI might be blamed for that.

By his own telling, Comey explicitly ruled out even considering whether his actions might elect Trump, arguing it would be fatal for the FBI to consider the political consequences of their actions. “Down that path lies the death of the FBI,” he declared.

It was not just Comey who thought that way. Among his senior advisers, few gave much credence to the idea that Trump had a real shot of winning the election.

That Friday, Comey sent a short letter to Congressional leaders announcing the FBI “has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”

Pandora’s box had been opened.

As news of the reopened investigation engulfed cable news, Special Agent Robertson wrote himself another email. The fear and anger of the past month had given way to satisfaction and relief.

“Someone in the chain of command had the sense to inform the director and I am elated to have learned that he did the right thing,” Robertson wrote at 4:30 that day. “I suppose I should have had greater faith in the FBI, but this is a different matter.”