Just two days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI was reopening its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use — an announcement made less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election and which some experts believe may have swayed the election from Clinton to Donald Trump — Rudy Giuliani publicly stated that “something big is coming in two days.”
How did Giuliani — the former federal prosecutor and New York City mayor who served as one of Trump’s most prominent campaign surrogates — know that Comey was about to drop the announcement that may have ensured Trump’s election? According to Giuliani himself in an interview at the time, FBI agents leaked the information to him.
Giuliani said in an interview on October 28, 2016 — the same day that Comey made his announcement — that he had received the information from “active (FBI) agents, who obviously don’t want to identify themselves.”
But just three days before the 2016 election, Giuliani attempted to walk back his admission, saying that his information came only from “former” FBI agents. Nonetheless, the Trump surrogate’s advance knowledge of the Comey announcement was not the first time that Giuliani appeared to announce inside information that only the FBI would know.
According to what Comey told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in an interview Thursday, Giuliani’s strange powers of prediction made him so suspicious that he ordered the FBI to investigate whether any of its agents were leaking information to the ex-mayor who had since gone into the private security business. Watch Comey tell Maddow about his suspicions in the video below.
Comey’s interview with Maddow on Thursday came just a few hours after Giuliani announced that he was joining Trump’s legal defense team in the Russia collusion investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Giuliani said that he planned to somehow “negotiate” with Mueller to end the Russia investigation.
Comey first revealed that the FBI was investigating the leaks to Giuliani in congressional testimony on May 3, 2017. Six days later, Trump fired Comey from the FBI.
As early as July 28, 2016, just six days after the data-dumping site WikiLeaks released thousands of emails from inside the Democratic National Committee — emails now known to have been stolen by Russian government hackers — Giuliani announced that he was certain the Russian government possessed thousands of other, unreleased Clinton emails, as Politico reported on that day.
At the time, only FBI investigators knew that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had been told by a Russia-linked contact that Russia possessed “thousands” of Clinton emails. The closely-guarded secret within the FBI was a major factor in Comey’s decision to open an investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians and whether Russian intelligence operatives had infiltrated Trump’s political organization, The New York Times later reported.
How Giuliani apparently also knew about the alleged Russian cache of Clinton emails remains a mystery. Trump himself later dismissed Giuliani’s revelation as “sarcastic.”
Some experts, including Clinton herself, have said they believe that the alleged FBI leaks to Giuliani were designed to pressure Comey into reopening the Clinton email probe, which could sway public opinion against Clinton and cost her the election.
On Thursday, Comey also addressed whether the FBI leaks were the source of an article that appeared in The New York Times on October 31, just eight days before the election, under the headline, “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” That article may be read at this link.
In fact, the Russia investigation had begun in July of that year and continues today almost two years later under the auspices of Mueller’s special counsel office.
And in an interview with New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick on Thursday, as reported by Politico, Comey said that the Times article was “just wrong” and that by the time the article was published in the Times, the FBI had already concluded that the Russian election operation was designed specifically “to hurt Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump.”