Does James Comey have a perjury problem?

Does James Comey have a perjury problem? A look at his past testimony with Congress, saying he had never heard of Russia's gas giant, Gazprom, might just suggest that.

Last year, in testimony before the House on supposed Russian meddling in the last U.S. election, Comey held this exchange:*

Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Ca): Do you know anything about Gazprom, Director?

FBI Director James Comey: I don't.

Speier: Well, it's a -- it's an oil company.

The exchange flabbergasted Russians. Never heard of Gazprom, the biggest and most powerful company in Russia? Seriously? And more to the point, the very company Carter Page had been a consultant for, his Russia ties the basis for all the suspicions about him? It doesn't sound as though Comey is telling the truth here.

The news from the Nunes Memo, showing that the Steele Dossier, a political opposition research packet, with all its unverified content, was the trigger point for the FBI's investigation of former investment banker, energy consultant, and Gazprom advisor Carter Page really was something. The dossier claimed that Page was in line for a 19% stake in Rosneft, the $62 billion Russian state oil company (do the math) and was buddy-buddy with Igor Sechin, the scariest and most powerful oligarch in all Russia. Sechin, who has ties to both Rosneft and Gazprom, is a real godfather and the only one who has no fear of Vladimir Putin. He's not a cuddly guy. And it's hard to imagine anyone from the outside being close enough to him for a 19%  partnership. Page himself says he never so much as met the guy, and frankly, that's believable. The claim about the 19 percent stake isn't, yet that was what the FBI believed.

Igor Sechin / Wikicommons

It gives added credence to Brian Joondeph's excellent piece here, arguing that the decision to spy on Page based on the ridiculous claims of the dossier was probably more likely the camel's nose under the Trump tent. Spying on Page was the pretext for spying on and unmasking all of the people on Trump's team during his campaign. And it certainly created problems for Page, who hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing, yet got a full FBI dragnet after him as if he were some sort of bad guy.

After all, Page was a weird choice of a guy to investigate, even with his Russia ties. Page is known for his volubility and openness, and he gladly cooperated with the FBI in the past over an unrelated spy issue, proving he was a patriot. The New York Times says he's the guy who can't stop talking. The FBI knew all this this about him firsthand, quite unlike the contents of the dossier. So if something he was doing really was a problem, why didn't they ask him directly? He obviously would have told them everything he knew if they had just asked. That's a freebie to investigators, assuming they were really interested in investigating Russian collusion to swing the election.

Apparently, they weren't.

They painted this guy, whose Russian client they had never heard of, as evil, or at least that was what they told the judge, even though they knew the dossier was filled with lies. And around the same time, they were almost certainly leaking to the press that Trump's aides were in contact with the Kremlin, a claim they knew was also bogus.

It's what makes now-former FBI Director James Comey testimony to Congress last May that he had no idea what Gazprom worth looking at as potential perjury.

It should be noted that the link to the transcript of the Comey remarks seems to have been scrubbed from Google's search engine even with the most obvious keywords and the actual content of the testimony itself. The Washington Post's search function is out for this, too. It is only possible now to find on Bing, yet it was easily available yesterday. Makes one wonder if someone is trying to hide it now.

Suspicious or not, no wonder Page is suing the Department of Justice over this unwarranted spying and intrusion. A look at Comey's past testimony is in order, too.




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