The Anti-Trump FBI Agent and Whose Goose is Really Cooked
To hear the lovebirds on MSNBC’s Morning Joe tell it, Trump and his team are “going to jail … for the rest of their lives.” CBS Late Night host Stephen Colbert is giving tiny handcuffs to the President as a Christmas gift. A New York Times op-ed doesn’t even want to bother with any actual crimes. They say “Don’t Prosecute Trump, Impeach Him.” And there are Democrats in the House hoping to push for a vote on that as soon as tomorrow.
Yes. Donald Trump’s Christmas goose is cooked as the liberal choir sings “Joy Behar to the World.”
The Strzok Factor
We start with the bombshell news about FBI agent Peter Strzok, former deputy head of counterintelligence for the Bureau. Strzok was a central figure in the Clinton email investigation and in the Trump-Russia investigation.
Like Al Franken, Strzok had his paws on everything. He spear-headed the Clinton investigation. According to CNN, he’s the guy who switched the language in Comey’s draft memo exonerating Hillary from her committing “gross negligence” to the more benign “extreme carelessness.” As CBS News put it, “That change in wording has significant legal implications, since ‘gross negligence’ in handling classified information can carry criminal penalties.”
He was in on the decision to let her walk months before even interviewing the key witnesses.
He did interview Hillary herself, but took no notes or recordings, nor did he put her under oath. He also interviewed top Hillary aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, who both gave misleading statements to him. Unlike General Michael Flynn, they were not prosecuted.
Ah, Gen. Flynn. Strzok was the guy who kicked off the FBI’s investigation into the whole Russia Collusion business. You know, the one ignited by the fake dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and put together with Russian agents? The one the FBI — likely Strzok himself — appears to have used to convince a judge to issue a FISA warrant on certain Trump associates, including Flynn. Strzok was also one of two G-men who conducted the interview in which Flynn says in his plea agreement that he lied.
He was then named by Mueller to be the top FBI agent in the Special Counsel investigation.
Why Does Strzok matter?
Why does Strzok matter? Strzok we now know is a rabid pro-Hillary, anti-Trumper. He was dumped from the Special Counsel investigation in August when his anti-Trump texts were made known to Mueller. Despite several efforts by Congress since August to find out why Strzok was removed, the FBI refused to answer. The reason only came out after Flynn pleaded guilty.
Strzok’s text exchanges were with his mistress, another anti-Trumper named Lisa Gates. Why should that matter to anyone other than his wife and kids? Gates was an FBI lawyer also assigned to the Clinton investigation and the Russia probe, thus further wrecking the credibility of both cases. She was removed by Mueller shortly after Strzok, again without a reason given. (By the way, how susceptible to blackmail would two Hillary investigators having an affair be? #Compromised. )
CNN’s Don Lemon asked former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker “How damaging is this news to the FBI?”
“I think it is damaging because [Strzok is] now firmly a defense witness, for anyone that’s charged relating to the Russia investigation,” said Swecker. “And it just casts a cloud over much of the Clinton investigation … the email investigation.”
An investigation, mind you, that already had more clouds than Seattle.
Yet, It Gets Even More Cloudy
Strzok’s boss at the FBI was Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. They are said to be very tight. A former U.S. intelligence official told Circa’s Sara Carter that “Strzok’s allegiance to McCabe was unwavering and very well known.” According to the Washington Post, Gates also worked for McCabe.
McCabe is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General. Among the many issues with McCabe is the $700,000 his wife got from longtime Clinton operative and current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe urged Mrs. McCabe to run for a state office then loaded her up with more money than anyone ever needs for a local campaign. This sudden interest in McCabe’s political career came just as her husband was overseeing the Clinton investigation.
McCabe’s also all over the Flynn matter.
The big question surrounding Flynn is: “Why in the world would Flynn lie to the FBI about a conversation that was utterly above board?” With the Russia frenzy at its full height and the FBI and Obama holdovers leaking like a sieve it’s no surprise Flynn wouldn’t be too chatty. However, according to Circa, Flynn didn’t initially know he was being interviewed by the FBI as part of an investigation.
The White House and FBI had been having a series of transition-related meetings. McCabe rings up Flynn directly, says some agents are heading over to the White House. Flynn’s cool with that. He thinks it’s part of the routine work the FBI had been doing. It’s not until the agents are in his office that he realizes he’s in the midst of a formal interview. He doesn’t have his lawyer present.
One of those agents was McCabe’s loyal Strzok. They talk. What Flynn says doesn’t match up with what they know from transcripts of Flynn’s calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The FBI can now say Flynn lied to them, and squeeze the general and his family like bugs until he agrees to plead guilty and cooperate. (Though Flynn may have the last laugh. More on that another time.)
McCabe’s interest in sandbagging Flynn may go beyond politics. McCabe has a personal beef against the retired general, stemming from a sexual harassment allegation. (In today’s environment, you knew sexual harassment had to enter into it somewhere.) Circa reported in August:
Former Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was one of the bureau’s top intelligence analysts and terrorism experts but resigned from the bureau five years ago after she said she was harassed and her career was blocked by top FBI management. She filed a formal sexual discrimination complaint against the bureau in 2013 and it was Flynn, among many others, who publicly came to her aide.
In her first on-camera interview she described the retaliation from McCabe and others in the bureau as “vicious.”
Flynn had worked closely with Gritz on joint terrorism related projects and “wrote a letter on Pentagon stationary testifying to her character and work ethic.” He also did a rare interview in 2015 to NPR defending Gritz against McCabe. The FBI tried to block Flynn’s testimony. They were unsuccessful.
“When I heard Michael Flynn was being brought under investigation, I wondered if they would go after him,” Gritz told Circa, “I still believe McCabe should have recused himself from the investigation into Flynn.”
Recuse? He set Flynn up.
This whole thing stinks like week-old eggnog sifted through Santa’s sweatsocks.
Still, Is Fresh Air on the Horizon?
In January 2017, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced it was launching a review of “certain actions” by the Department of Justice and FBI “in advance of the 2016 election.” (All of which were designed to help Hillary Clinton.) They would also would “consider other issues that may arise during the course of the review.”
In the meantime, Daily Caller has six questions for Mueller about Strzok:
- Why was Strzok’s demotion kept secret for nearly four months?
- Are Strzok’s activities an optics problem or something much worse?
- Did Strzok take part in the interview with dossier author Christopher Steele?
- Why did the Strzok story leak a day after Flynn’s guilty plea?
- What’s up with this CNN report published just after Flynn was fired? (That suggests Strzok did not believe Flynn intentionally lied in his Jan. 24 FBI interview)
- Did Mueller ask the FBI and DOJ to prohibit Strzok from being interviewed by congressional investigators?
I will add one more question: In the end, who actually will need the handcuffs Colbert gifted President Trump?