Email Exposes Barbara Comstock Personally Directing Political Attack Machine

Email Exposes Barbara Comstock Personally Directing Political Attack Machine

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From the LuAnn Bennett for Congress campaign:

 

McLean –   In an exclusive, late-breaking news story today, the Loudoun Times-Mirror revealed internal emails that expose the real Barbara Comstock, someone who has “worked since her 2014 election to appear a congresswoman focused on her constituent services and disinterested in the nitty-gritty politics of campaigns.

In fact, the article exposes email communication between Comstock herself, her Deputy Chief of Staff, and a staffer at the National Republican Congressional Committee, in which she is personally directing negative attacks against her opponent. The email, “offers a peek inside her role as a political and media strategist.

“This Loudoun Times-Mirror article pulls back the curtain on the real Barbara Comstock, a career political operative, mudslinger and opposition researcher who above all else feels most at home personally directing attacks against her political opponents,” said Bennett campaign spokesperson Robert Howard. “It is not surprising that the day after Donald Trump visits her district, the Congresswoman is personally at the helm of a deceptive negative campaign to try to distract 10th district voters from her support for Donald Trump and the divisive and extreme agenda they share. The voters of the 10th district deserve a Congresswoman whose primary concern is serving her constituents, not preserving her own political career.”

Long before holding elected office, Barbara Comstock made her name as a Republican party operative and opposition researcher.

Background

Comstock “Made Her Name Digging Up Dirt on the Clintons.” In 2014, Politico wrote that Comstock “made her name digging up dirt on the Clintons … Clinton allies worry that if Comstock wins and Hillary Clinton returns to the White House as president, she’ll reprise her role as Clinton investigator-in-chief.” “She was the primary architect and energy behind Dan Burton’s investigations of the Clintons,” said [Clinton deputy Attorney General Jamie] Gorelick. “When you meet Barbara Comstock, she’s very personable and lovely. But the work of that committee was highly divisive, and it was not a constructive way of running a congressional committee.” [Politico, 7/24/14]

·         Headline: Ex-GOP sleuth eyes House seat, Benghazi [Politico, 7/24/14]

·         Politico Pro Headline: Latest front in Clinton Wars: Virginia suburbs [Politico Pro, 7/23/14]

Said Clinton Investigations and Oppo Success Illustrated Effectiveness She Would Bring Congress. In 2014, the Washington Post reported: “Comstock, now 55, said the Clinton-era investigations she helped oversee and her later success in conducting opposition research on other Democrats illustrate the effectiveness she can bring into Congress. For some audiences, she also isn’t shy about recalling her work in a more partisan light.” [Washington Post, 8/24/14]

Washington Post: One-Woman Wrecking Crew Targets Democratic Leaders. In August 2001, the Washington Postwrote, “Since joining the GOP, Comstock has become a kind of one-woman wrecking crew targeting Democratic leaders … Comstock has perhaps done more than any other GOP operative to skewer Bill Clinton, Al Gore and their congressional allies.” [Washington Post, 8/22/01]

Politico: Comstock was “Clinton Investigator-In-Chief.” In July 2014 Politico reported “Fifteen years later, the Clinton Wars are back. The backdrop this time isn’t the White House or Hillary Clinton’s likely presidential run. It’s the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., where a onetime congressional staffer who made her name digging up dirt on the Clintons, Barbara Comstock, is trying to win a seat in Congress herself […]Clinton allies worry that if Comstock wins and Hillary Clinton returns to the White House as president, she’ll reprise her role as Clinton investigator-in-chief.” [Politico7/24/14]

Comstock Has a “Sick, Sort of Stalker-Like Obsession with President Clinton. In July 2014, former Clinton advisor Paul Begala said, “If she wins, she will no doubt practice the same politics of personal destruction she and her ilk practiced in the Clinton days.” Comstock, he said, has a “really almost sick, sort of stalker-like obsession with President Clinton.” [Politico7/24/14]

·         VIDEO: Fox News – Comstock’s Response to Paul Begala. Elizabeth Hasselbeck quotes Begala. [Fox News, 7/25/14]

Comstock “Almost Unhinged in her Passion to Bring Down the Clintons.” In his memoir, former conservative journalist David Brock – who later recanted much of his work and now works on behalf of progressive causes – described Comstock as “almost unhinged in her passion to bring down the Clintons.” [Salon11/15/05]

Comstock Had a “Wonderfully Devious Mind.” In June 2000, a reporter said, “What makes Barbara so good is that she just has an amazing ability to see connections and fit things together. She has a wonderfully devious mind.” [New York Post, 6/19/00]

Salon: Comstock a “Professional Clinton Hater” who Investigated them Zealously. In March 2008, Salondescribed Comstock as a “professional Clinton-hater” who had “investigated both Clintons zealously in the 1990s while working for Dan Burton’s House committee.” [Salon3/26/08]

Comstock Investigated Whitewater, Travelgate, Impeachment. While working at the House Oversight Committee, Comstock investigated Whitewater, Travelgate and President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. [USNews, 10/5/09; National Review, 11/8/01]

Washington Post: Whitewater Hearings Utterly Obliterated Any Notion of Congressional Objectivity. In June 1996, the Washington Post reported “the Whitewater hearings utterly obliterated any notion of congressional objectivity.” The Post reported that the 60 sessions of hearings, consuming 300 hours and producing 10,729 pages of testimony and 35,000 pages of depositions from 245 people “ended much as they began.” [Washington Post6/19/96]

Independent Probes of the Clinton Administration Cost Taxpayers Nearly $80 Million. In April 1999, figures released from the General Accounting Office showed that independent investigations into the Hillary and President Clinton over the course of the last 4 ½ years had cost $79.3 million. [CNN, 4/01/99]

Touted Clinton Investigations in the 90s, Compared them to Benghazi. In May 2014, appearing on “The John Fredericks Show” radio show, Comstock compared the Benghazi investigation to the investigations she conducted as chief counsel on the House Government and Reform Committee into the Clinton Administration. When asked about e-mails that were recently released related to the Benghazi attacks that led some to believe that the Whitehouse had been withholding information from Congress Comstock said, “Oh gosh it really brought me back to 2012 when that happened because that certainly was the feeling of what was going on at that point, instinctively what you thought this administration was doing, but it’s still disappointing when you actually see it … And I previously, when I was on Capitol Hill in the 90s, I served as chief counsel on the House Government and Reform Committee and we had similar investigations where we were just blocked at every turn, we had people take the Fifth Amendment, we had the administration refuse to turn over documents. And you just have to really go at it. We wrote contempt reports, we insisted on getting documents and then finally we were able to break open these cases,” Comstock said. [John Fredericks Show, 5/01/14]

Comstock Kept Around the Clock Watch on Clinton Investigation Evidence. In October 1999, an unauthorized biography of Hilary Clinton written by congressional investigator Barbara Olsen claimed that congressional aides investigating White House scandals used secretive methods and around the clock surveillance after key papers that were thrown away ended up in the hands of reporters. Olsen wrote that Comstock would stay in the office from 8 PM to 4 AM to keep watch. [White House Bulletin, 10/18/99]

1996: Investigated FBI File Breech by White House Personnel Security Director Craig Livingstone. In July 1996, Comstock was investigating the improper requisition of FBI reports by White House Personnel Security Director Craig Livingstone. Livingstone had received hundreds of FBI reports on employees of former Republican administrations. [Washington Post, 7/03/96]

1997: Investigated Democratic Fundraising Controversy. In February 1997, Comstock was investigating a fundraising controversy involving overseas payments made to the Democratic National Committee. Comstock said two key figures in the investigation, Webster Hubble and John Huang, had claimed a Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to turn over subpoenaed documents. Comstock declined to say how the panel will respond to the refusal to produce documents. [Associated Press, 2/20/97]

Partisan Investigation Cost Taxpayers $7.4 Million. As of October 1998, according to a General Accounting Office report, the investigation cost taxpayers $7.4 million and cost federal agencies $9 million to respond to inquiries. “The Republican leadership has set a new standard for partisan, open-ended Congressional investigations,” Representative Waxman said. [Roll Call, 10/08/98]

Burton’s “Zealous” Efforts Irritated And Embarrassed Republicans. In May 1998, according to theBaltimore Sun, Representative Gingrich moved to shift key parts of the Clinton investigation away from the control of Representative Burton because his “zealous efforts to damage President Clinton [had] embarrassed and irritated fellow Republicans.” Gingrich’s move shifted much of the campaign finance investigation to the House Oversight Committee. [Baltimore Sun, 5/14/98]

Comstock’s Investigations Into Clintons “Ultimately Yielded Little.” According to Politico, “Comstock’s investigations into the Clintons ultimately yielded little, but her career in politics was just taking off.” [Politico, 7/24/14]

Criticized White House for Claiming Executive Privilege in Whitewater Investigation. In March 1998, Comstock questioned why White House counsel Bruce Lindsey was cooperating in a campaign fundraising inquiry but he and fellow Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal were still claiming cover of “executive privilege” in refusing to answer Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s questions about strategy discussions with Clinton. “It’s a striking contrast in similar situations,” said Comstock. Lindsey’s change of heart “raises the logical question of why the White House is still raising (executive privilege) elsewhere,” she said. [Associated Press, 3/21/98]

Said President Clinton Lied to House Judiciary Committee. In December 1998, on “CNN & Company,” Comstock said President Clinton did not have a license to lie in the answers to 81 questions he sent to the Judiciary Committee.  “…the real problem is that he has to give truthful answers and full and complete answers, which did not happen. And even though he may be worried about legal problems, that don’t give you a license not to tell the truth,” Comstock said. “You know, the president is supposed to be answering these questions. He can’t take the 5th or sort of, in effect, take the 5th.  No matter what the legal problems he might face by telling the truth, he’s still obligated to tell the truth, and as the nation’s leader and top law enforcement officer he has an obligation to tell the truth.  That’s been one of the problems here that’s been of concern across the board.” [CNN, 12/02/98]

Supported Federal Judge’s Ruling to Release Full Memo’s to Judiciary Committee. In December 1998, on “CNN & Company,” Comstock supported Judge Norma Holloway Johnson’s decision to allow the Judiciary Committee to view full copies of memos, without redactions, between FBI Director Louis Freeh, the Justice Department’s Charles LaBella, and Attorney General Janet Reno asking Reno to name an independent counsel to investigate the 1996 presidential campaign fundraising scandal. “I mean, that is a step in the right direction. That might enable things to move quickly,” Comstock said. [CNN, 12/02/98]

Accused the White House of Avoiding the Law. In January 1999, on “CNN & Company,” Comstock said the White House had been avoiding the law in the impeachment trial against President Clinton.  “And there — it’s — a lot of moderate Republicans, such as Sen. Thompson and Sen. Specter and Sen. DeWine from Ohio, who’ve in the recent days spoken very vociferously about the need to follow the process, because you have perjury, here, and obstruction of justice, and those are serious charges. And the White House all along has tried to avoid the facts and the law. And we need to in this process have the president confront the facts and the law, and unfortunately for the president, the facts and the law are his enemy,” Comstock said. [CNN, 1/04/99]

Said an Independent Counsel Should Have Been Appointed to Investigate 1996 Fundraising Scandal. In March 2000, on CNN’s “Crossfire,” Comstock said an independent counsel should have been appointed to investigate the 1996 Democratic fundraising scandal. The issue was being debated on the show after a special report by the LA Timespublished excerpts from a memo that investigator Charles LaBella sent to Attorney General Janet Reno recommending that she call for an independent counsel and accusing her of being “intellectually dishonest.” “But what’s important here and what we should be talking about here is all Americans should be able to see this memo […] And the memo there is a very strong case showing that Al Gore, they raised questions that Al Gore lied.  And that’s what should have been looked at and the whole role of fund-raisers coming in, all of this Chinese money and all of these people here,” Comstock said. “Chuck LaBella wanted to start from the top down. Janet Reno wanted to stop at the bottom and bottom out.  And that’s why we have never learned anything more about this investigation, because she didn’t want to hear it. And that’s not just me. You have people like Pat Moynihan who said, why wasn’t an independent counsel appointed? It should have been.” [CNN, 3/10/00]

2000: Still Advocated for the Appointment of Independent Counsel to Investigate DNC Fundraiser. In June 2000, on CNN’s “Burden of Proof,” Comstock was still advocating for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate the 1996 Democratic fundraising scandal. She said there was no confidence in the investigation by Attorney General Janet Reno because there was a conflict of interest.  “The problem you have here with how Janet Reno and some of her political people have handled this, is there’s no confidence in this. And when you have all these issues about whether or not Al Gore told the truth, and you have Janet Reno, who’s been hired by Al Gore, then all the political people, really who owe their, you know, livelihood to Al Gore, being the people to decide it, you’re putting them in an impossible situation. So you have to separate it out, and allow those people to do it,” [CNN, 6/23/00]

Suggested the White House Threatened Janet Reno to Not Appoint an Independent Counsel. In June 2000, on CNN’s “Burden of Proof,” Comstock said the White House had threatened Janet Reno by suggesting she would not get reappointed as Attorney General if she appointed an independent counsel to investigate the 1996 Democratic fundraising scandal. “…you know, when this first came up in 1996, you had people saying then, you know, FBI Director Freeh, in September of 1996, said this should be handled independently so this type of thing won’t happen. The White House fought it. They sent all kinds of signals that if Janet Reno appointed another independent counsel, she wouldn’t be reappointed as attorney general herself. And lo and behold, we have this situation,” Comstock said. [CNN, 6/23/00]