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The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech appeared on “Media Buzz” on Sunday saying that a January 2017 Oval Office meeting with former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Vice President Joe Biden and members of the National Security Council to discuss Russian election interference “proves that we need to be asking questions both of former President Obama and of, frankly, Joe Biden.”
Domenech added that those questions should include “what that meeting entailed, about what they were thinking in this time.”
Newly declassified documents, including an FD-302 FBI witness report, revealed that on Jan. 5, 2017, Yates, Comey, Biden, then-CIA Director John Brennan and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, along with National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other members of the National Security Council, attended the meeting.
After the briefing, Obama asked Yates and Comey to “stay behind,” and said he had “learned of the information about [then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael] Flynn” and his conversation with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions. Obama “specified that he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information.”
A previous memo from Rice stated that Biden also stayed behind after the main briefing had ended.
In an article published on Friday in The Federalist, “Obama, Biden Oval Office Meeting On January 5 Was Key To Entire Anti-Trump Operation,” Mollie Hemingway wrote, “Information released in the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case it brought against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn confirms the significance of a Jan. 5, 2017, meeting at the Obama White House.”
“It was at this meeting that Obama gave guidance to key officials who would be tasked with protecting his administration’s utilization of secretly funded Clinton campaign research, which alleged Trump was involved in a treasonous plot to collude with Russia, from being discovered or stopped by the incoming administration.”
The article then noted that “in an unusual email” Rice wrote to herself about the Jan. 5 meeting, “President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”
On Sunday, Domenech weighed in saying the email “opens up a lot of questions.”
“That was the meeting where Sally Yates apparently found out that James Comey was circumventing their normal practices when it came to going through the White House counsel before interviewing Michael Flynn,” he continued. “This creates, I think, a question that really needs to be asked of the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee about what happened in that meeting, what his role might have been in spinning this up.”
Domenech made the comments three days after the Justice Department moved to drop its case against Flynn, in a stunning development that comes after internal memos were released raising serious questions about the nature of the investigation that led to Flynn’s late 2017 guilty plea of lying to the FBI.
Speaking from the White House on Thursday President Trump said Flynn “was an innocent man.”
“He is a great gentleman,” Trump continued. “He was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president and what they’ve done is a disgrace. They’re scum and I say it a lot. They’re scum. They’re human scum.”
On Sunday, Domenech said that some news outlets will now have to reevaluate their protocols
“There have been so many people who have run away from this story because it would force them to have to go back and look at the leaks that they were basing their earlier stories on about the way that this played out with Michael Flynn,” he said.
“It would also in many instances force them to examine the comments from paid contributors to their networks who have been saying one thing when they go on-air for the past several years, but other things behind closed doors as we’ve learned from the transcripts that have been released this week from the House Intelligence Committee.”
“This is going to be a continually unraveling story as we go forward and I think that a lot of these media entities need to go back and look at the kind of original reporting that they did on this subject and whether they can trust those types of sources in the future, whether they need to make changes in order to vet things more thoroughly,” he added.
Domenech made the comments three days after the media watchdog group NewsBusters determined that the guilty plea from the former Trump official received nearly four times the coverage than the latest developments that virtually reverse the legal drama that took place prior.
Fox News’ Gregg Re, Joseph Wulfsohn and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.