Well over one year later, the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election to ensure the victory of Donald Trump has still not turned up any evidence, but the counterattack by some in Congress has brought to light the highly suspicious attempts by the FBI and the Justice Department to undermine first the Trump campaign and then the Trump presidency.
Indeed, the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives are looking into a huge scandal, which bears out President Trump’s charges that the “deep state” is waging a witch hunt against him. On Dec. 12, the Justice Department released to the public 375 text messages that Peter Strzok, the number two man in the FBI Counterintelligence Division, had exchanged with FBI attorney Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, which clearly indicate they were plotting to prevent Trump’s election.
One of those texts, the most explicit, refers to a meeting that took place in Aug. 2016, likely in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (referred to as “Andy”), which Strzok and Page both attended. On Aug. 15, Strzok wrote to Page:
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s [McCabe’s] office that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected, but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
What exact strategy they discussed is not revealed, but the stories about Russian collusion with Trump and the Russian hacking of the Democratic Party emails were probably part of it. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley wrote in a letter to the deputy Justice Minister Rod Rosenstein, these texts point to a highly politicized FBI, ready to carry out witch hunts.
Strzok is also the FBI official who changed the wording of FBI director James Comey’s official assessment of Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email account when she was Secretary of State, from “grossly negligent” (and thereby liable for prosecution) to “extremely careless”. Other text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page show they were tinged with animus toward Donald Trump. (They are also highly disparaging of Bernie Sanders, which likely influenced the Democratic Party primary.)
Moreover, Strzok was involved in the surprise interrogation the FBI conducted of General Michael Flynn, the then National Security Advisor of President Trump, on Jan. 24, 2017. Flynn, who had no lawyer present at the time, was asked about his discussions with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., in particular if the two had discussed the sanctions policy. But since the FBI already had the transcripts of those discussions, the agency’s only purpose must have been to entrap Flynn, by inducing him to say something which contradicted the transcript. And in fact, he later admitted that he had discussed that policy, which led to his guilty plea of “lying to the FBI,” although there is nothing illegal or unusual in holiding the discussion as such.
There is more. On Dec. 13, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida relentlessly questioned Rosenstein in a Judiciary Committee hearing on the fact that his deputy at the Justice Department, Bruce Ohr, had met with Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of the firm hired by the Democratic Party during the campaign to “get dirt on Trump” to discredit him. The firm, Fusion GPS, had in turn hired “ex” British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to put together the infamous dossier, which was later leaked. And on top of that, it was further revealed on Dec. 11, that Bruce Ohr’s own wife, Nellie Ohr, had worked for Fusion GPS during the summer and fall of 2016! (You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to sense the conflict of interest…)
All this has Bill and Hillary Clinton’s long-time pollster and strategist Mark Penn very worried. He wrote in The Hill on Dec. 14, that 63% of all voters believe that the FBI is refusing to provide information to Congress on the Clinton and Trump investigations, 54% believe Robert Mueller has “conflicts of interest that prevent him from doing an unbiased job”, and 61% favor an investigation of “the funding of the salacious GPS Fusion document”. Mistrust of Robert Mueller and of the entire FBI-DOJ nexus has reached such a point that Penn calls for a complete clean up. “When you look at the polling numbers and the stream of revelations, the current course is simply untenable, and likely to go from a crisis in confidence to a full-blown constitutional crisis if not corrected.”
Moreover, it was revealed in mid-December that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had purloined every single email exchanged in the process of the Trump Presidential transition, using extraordinarily dirty and unconstitutional methods to do so, including those protected by attorney-client privilege. Renowned George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley called that action “unprecedented,” “a muscle move,” “reckless,” and in probable contravention of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment and Sixth Amendments.