Election '16

'I am screwed no matter what happens': The untold story of the day James Comey changed America

Four years ago, during the 2016 presidential election, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump got the "October surprise" his campaign was hoping for: James Comey, FBI director at the time, announced that he was reopening the investigation of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Journalist/author and New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt looks back on that October 2016 bombshell in his book, "Donald Trump v. the United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President" — and according to Schmidt, one person who urged Comey not to publicly announce his investigation was his wife, Patrice Comey.

Schmidt, in an article published on NBC News' website on October 28 and adapted from his book, explains, "FBI Director Jim Comey's decision to reopen the Clinton e-mail investigation 11 days before the 2016 election will likely go down in history as one of America's most dramatic October surprises. In the four years since that decision, it has become cemented in the minds of Clinton supporters and many political analysts as the turning point for her doomed campaign."

The then-FBI director, Schmidt explains, "turned to" his wife "as he searched for answers" in 2016 — and Patrice Comey advised against announcing the Clinton investigation.

"Patrice was an ardent Clinton supporter and had long dreamt of seeing a woman elected president," Schmidt notes. "She believed Trump was an existential threat and must never sit in the Oval Office. An argument between couples is normal. But in this argument, the Comeys — armed with knowledge that only a handful of Americans were privy to — had to weigh what felt like an incalculable decision. And of course, the stakes felt impossibly high. And as it turns out, they were."

Schmidt's piece describes, in detail, the conversations the Comeys had in October 2016 in their home in McLean, Virginia. On October 27, 2016, Schmidt explains, "There were less than two weeks to go before the presidential election, and now, the Clinton e-mail investigation that Comey had taken the rare step of personally and publicly closing in July was about to roar back to life. 'It's a shit show,' he told Patrice. 'They told me that there's thousands of e-mails.' It would fall to the director to make the final decision about what to do."

Patrice Comey told her husband, "You can't do this this close to the election. You can't do this to a candidate." And the then-FBI director told his wife, "I am screwed no matter what happens. If I disclose this, I'm screwed. If I don't disclose this, I'm screwed."

James Comey made his Clinton e-mails announcement, and that "October surprise" — just as his wife predicted — seriously damaged Clinton's campaign. On Election Day 2016, Schmidt didn't vote in the presidential election; he believed that by not voting for either Clinton or Trump, he was showing his neutrality or objectivity as a law enforcement agent.

"Patrice, on the other hand, was excited to vote," Schmidt writes. "She had waited decades to vote for a woman presidential candidate, and her eyes brimmed with tears as she selected Clinton."

Schmidt goes on to describe Election Night 2016, writing, "After the Associated Press called Florida for Trump at 10:50 p.m., Jim went to bed, still thinking Clinton would win. At 2:30 a.m., when the AP called the race for Donald Trump, Patrice cried on the phone with her daughters, not giving voice to what she feared: that their father might be blamed for Trump's election. Patrice finally went upstairs to their dark bedroom and woke up her husband to tell him the news. Jim sat right up. 'Oh, God,' he said."

Former FBI agent on the Mueller team says Trump was ‘badly compromised’ in 2016

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok — who was removed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation in July 2017 because of texts critical of President Donald Trump and fired by the FBI in 2018 — is still under fire from Trump’s sycophants. They will insist that his new book, “Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump,” has no validity.  But it won't keep him quiet.

Keep reading... Show less

Journalist recounts the moment in the 2016 campaign where Trump took a 'dark turn'

In a new book excerpt published by Vanity Fair, ABC reporter Jonathan Karl recounts a moment from December 2015 in which he began to believe Donald Trump's presidential campaign started taking a "dark turn."

Keep reading... Show less

DOJ moves to drop charges against 2 Russian shell companies indicted during Mueller’s investigation

A year has passed since former special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report for the Russia investigation, but Mueller’s indictment of two shell companies accused of promoting Russian interference in the United States’ 2016 presidential election remained. On Monday, March 16, however, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) moved to drop the federal charges the companies have been facing.

Keep reading... Show less

'Bitter and vexed' Trump exploded after aides rejected his ‘insane’ 7-minute birther disavowal in 2016: book

President Donald Trump reportedly flew into a rage during the 2016 campaign after his lengthy and rambling statement on birtherism was edited down to something more concise and coherent.

Keep reading... Show less

'The only one I didn't want her to pick': Recording of Trump private dinner shows he feared Bernie Sanders on 2016 ticket

A nearly 90-minute audio recording of a private dinner that took place with numerous individuals and President Donald Trump in 2018 was made public Saturday evening by the legal team of Lev Parnas, a close associate of the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, in which the president can be heard saying "take her out" in reference to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch—a key witness in the impeachment trial now in the U.S. Senate.

Keep reading... Show less

Disturbing new report zeroes in on mysteries still surrounding Russia's 2016 election hacking — and why we're still at risk

A new report from Politico on Thursday highlighted the persistent and troubling concerns about the security of U.S. elections, diving deep into some of the still unresolved mysteries about Russia's efforts to hack the 2016 election.

Keep reading... Show less

National security expert: DOJ IG report vindicated reason for FBI’s 2016 Trump campaign investigation — but ‘sloppy’ use of FISA warrants must be ‘audited’

On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz was questioned by both Republican and Democratic senators when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and discussed his recent report on the FBI’s 2016 investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election and possible Russian ties to the Trump campaign. Benjamin Wittes, editor-in-chief of the Lawfare website and a frequent guest on MSNBC, discussed Horowitz’ findings when he appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday morning — and he stressed that there are two main takeaways from Horowitz’ testimony: (1) the FBI’s investigation itself was perfectly legitimate, but (2) there were some civil liberties issues when the use of FISA warrants during the investigation.

Keep reading... Show less

‘The truth is finally out’: Former FBI Director Comey cheers arrival of IG report on 2016 Russia probe

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has railed against the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election — describing it as a “deep state” conspiracy against his campaign. But on Monday, December 9, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz on that investigation — and former FBI Director James Comey, in a December 9 op-ed for the Washington Post, applauds Horowitz’ report as proof that the FBI acted honorably and ethically in 2016.

Keep reading... Show less

'We need to get a shredder': New book finds evidence National Enquirer destroyed secret dirt on Trump

Author and journalist Ronan Farrow detailed evidence that the National Enquirer shredded documents related to dirt on President Donald Trump in his new book, "Catch and Kill,"  according to a Politico report on Monday.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump once called him 'my African American.' Now he says the president has a 'white superiority complex'

In one of the countless stunning moments on the 2016 campaign trail, Donald Trump made headlines at a June rally when he pointed to a member of the audience and called him out as "my African American."

Keep reading... Show less

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.