As the door of the Gulf Stream opened, a cold gust of wind filled the cabin of the jet. The hiss of his engines soon faded, and the security guards on board began to make their final preparations for our arrival. They checked weapons, tested the radio communication, and went through the schedule one last time to make sure every move was recorded down to the last detail. During this jumble, our main passenger sat quietly in front of me, nodding in time to a song by John Legend playing on his wireless headphones.
Two dark SUVs, flanked by police cruisers with flashing lights, stopped at the stairs of the plane, and the chief security guard gave me a thumbs-up. It was not until I stepped on the door that I realized that we were driving past the fuselage directly on a Boeing 757 with the word TRUMP. I had seen this impressive machine before, when I flew over New York's LaGuardia airport. On one occasion, I even saw Donald Trump driving a Chevrolet Suburban with a pressed-down phone controlled by intelligence agents. To his ear as he climbed the stairs of the jet, undoubtedly on the way to another campaign stop, as he tried to get in to overcome long chances in a critical election cycle. But now, as I stood there staring at a huge plane bearing the golden Trump name, I could not help but marvel at the crafting and branding of the man who had just been elected Leader of the Free World. It was time for Comey to meet the new boss.
Whether to confront terrorists who wanted to kill innocent Americans, identify cybercriminals who are investigating our critical national infrastructure, or uncover foreign spies working to undermine our sacred electoral process, the missions of men, and the Women of US intelligence are dead serious. The four men who had traveled to New York that morning had spent most of their adult lives protecting the United States from foreign adversaries. They would now summarize their expertise in a briefing to provide the new CEO with the knowledge and tools needed to counteract a persistent – and serious – threat to the nation.
Indeed, Steele was not the only one who feared that Trump could take a compromising position with the Russians. Two powerful Republican senators had already addressed the FBI director separately, expressing dismay at the revelations the former British spy might have detected. In November 2016, when Comey spoke to legislators on Capitol Hill, Senate Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) pulled Comey aside to warn him of something very worrying. Their conversation had not been reported so far.
"There's some material circulating," Burr whispered cryptically. "It contains some annoying things, I just want to make sure you're persecuting them."
"We are," said Comey.
"I no longer need to know about it," Burr said, expressing his respect for the FBI's independence in countering possible counter-intelligence threats. "I just felt like I had to make sure you knew."
Then, in December 2016, Senator John McCain called our office and said he had to come to Comey. He brought along a single envelope, the contents of which were a mystery to us, as the senior statesman walked slowly past me and walked down the long corridor to Comey's office.
"He had returned from the annual Halifax Defense Conference in Nova Scotia," Comey told me later, "and someone he knew had given him Christopher Steele's material, he had read enough to know he was had to give it to me. " "
" I do not know what to do with it, "McCain had told him," but I know enough to know that you should have it. You'll never have to talk to me again. "
" Thanks, "Comey replied, not acknowledging that the FBI already had the same material.
The four intelligence chiefs decided that Comey should brief the incoming president on the brutal material, one because both the FBI had originally received the information and Comey the only one was in the group that was guaranteed to remain in office when the new administration came in (unlike the heads of other intelligence agencies, the director) of the FBI has a statutory mandate of ten years, and Comey was in the third year.) The FBI Director was aware of the personal embarrassment that this delicate mission might entail for the elected president, and decided to discuss it with Trump separately at the end of the year ng about Russian interference.
I had already experienced this as my special assistant at the beginning of my tenure when Comey was supposed to join an elected politician at an event and I assumed I would have to catch up on the time for a private meeting between the two men , "You were wrong," Comey said dryly, pulling a blue felt-tip pen out of his jacket pocket and dramatically removing that part of the timeline ahead of him. It was not that he did not like the person; He had little patience with politics. "I also see that you have put us together," he had said and with another stroke of the pen cut through the seating. "They are sitting next to him!"