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FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Obama's Cabinet reportedly kept Comey from sharing Russian election hack info last summer


FBI Director James Comey reportedly attempted to go public with information on Russia's attempts to meddle with the U.S. presidential election in summer 2016, but former President Obama's Cabinet blocked him, Newsweek reports.

Comey reportedly proposed writing an op-ed about the campaign back in June or July, likely for The New York Times. But Cabinet officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, rejected his plan. They argued an op-ed "doesn't have the same stature" since it comes from one person.

He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, 'I want to go forward, what do people think of this?'
Anonymous Newsweek source

White House officials said the announcement should be coordinated between multiple agencies. 

The planned op-ed would not mention whether the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign or other associates. It likely would have matched a January intelligence report on Russian hacking.

That January report stated that Russia aimed to "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency." Intelligence officials also concluded that Putin had "a clear preference for President-elect Trump." 

Comey has written op-eds after major issues in the past. In 2014, when the FBI was under fire for letting an agent pose as an Associated Press reporter, Comey wrote a letter to the Times defending the agent.

Comey has been under fire from both Republicans and Democrats at different points in the past year. Democrats blasted him for reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails without reviewing the emails in question in the campaign's final weeks.

More recently, Comey confirmed an FBI investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and said there was no evidence to support Trump's claims he had been wiretapped by Obama. Trump's team has insisted the investigation is not proof of wrongdoing.

The White House shut it down. They did their usual -- nothing.
Anonymous Newsweek source

Newsweek's source said the primary reason Comey didn't go public sooner was that the Obama White House responded too slowly.

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