The Peter Strzok hearing was a travesty, starting with the fact that he testified as a cocooned, lawyered-up government employee still working for the FBI. It is outrageous that he hasn’t been fired yet. He even still has a security clearance! That alone is proof of the deep state’s hold on certain executive branch agencies. If the FBI keeps its so-so employees close, it keeps its worst employees even closer. That Strzok could huddle with FBI lawyers while stonewalling a Republican-led committee speaks to the corruption of official Washington and the comparative impotence of Republican administrations. Does anybody think an FBI agent who had vowed to “stop” the candidacy of Barack Obama would have lasted a week at his job, let alone over a year, after the discovery of his bias?
The cockiness of Strzok at Thursday’s hearing is a reflection of the immunity that ruling-class mandarins enjoy in liberal Washington. He was testifying from the safety of the deep state and thus knew that he could lie his head off without consequence. How else to explain his unrepentant opening statement, with its blatant anti-Trump special pleading? The statement sounded like it had been written by Rachel Maddow, resting on the lamest and hackiest of MSNBC-style talking points, that “today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
Whatever credibility Strzok as an FBI agent still possessed vanished with that partisan cant, and he spent much of the hearing tossing out similarly hackish anti-Trump gibes designed to win the applause of the ruling class. He couldn’t remember his “we-will-stop”-Trump-from-winning text, though he could remember its noble meaning — that righteous Americans would stop a candidate like Trump who evinced “disgusting behavior.”
His testimony was full of such anti-Trump pandering and constituted one big non-apology apology, based on liberalism’s conceit that its opinions never count as “bias” and could never result in on-the-job misconduct at odds with “public service.”
Like John Brennan, who calls himself “non-partisan” while making the most insanely partisan points, Strzok asserted that his “political opinions” didn’t count as bias and certainly didn’t explain or affect his official conduct. That is, if you don’t count his expressing them on an FBI device during FBI time while trashing the subject of an FBI investigation to another FBI member working on the same FBI case with whom he was breaking FBI rules. Trust me, Strzok said to the committee, he has kept his “oath.” Maybe the committee should check with his wife about his oath-keeping record.
He launched a baseless investigation into a political rival, yet claimed that he couldn’t understand the committee’s concerns. He is right that his anti-Trump animus didn’t affect “one” decision; it affected all of them. How else to explain something as outré as the investigation of a rival presidential campaign without a shred of credible evidence of collusion, an investigation that largely revolved around the opposition research of that campaign’s opponent? After hiding behind FBI lawyers for much of the hearing, Strzok late in it admitted that he could answer the GOP’s question about whether Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, who through his wife was connected to Hillary’s opposition research team, gave the FBI its work. The answer, of course, was yes.
But Strzok insulted everyone’s intelligence by insinuating that something other than Hillary’s opposition research had spurred the FBI to investigate her opponent. He couldn’t tell the committee what that was, of course, lest that threaten an “ongoing investigation.” But, trust him, that something was really, really “significant.”
The lying bluff here is sickening. The FBI knows damn well that Hillary’s opposition research drove the bogus investigation. The FBI only invented the sham George Papadopoulos story — which is pitiful, non-conclusive hearsay that doesn’t come anywhere close to Strzok’s description of “intelligence” justifying a counterintelligence probe — because it doesn’t want to admit that it was spying on a Republican campaign based on smears from the Democratic campaign. There is no other reason than that for its stonewalling.
One act of obvious perjury during the hearing was Strzok’s claim — which he presented as incontrovertible proof of his apolitical professionalism — that he “never” spoke to reporters about the investigation before election day. Strzok didn’t even bother to coordinate this lie with his defense attorney, who has previously admitted that Strzok talked to reporters about the investigation. Strzok’s attorney wrote an Op-Ed in USA Today saying that “Peter and others” at the FBI “actively ensured that news reports didn’t overplay the seriousness of the investigation.” How did he do that without talking to them?
According to the New York Times, Strzok’s team had been chatting with its reporters about the investigation for six weeks or so before election day. In the paper’s pre-election article on the FBI’s investigation into alleged Trump-Russian collusion, it stated: “Intelligence officials have said in interviews over the last six weeks that apparent connections between some of Mr. Trump’s aides and Moscow originally compelled them to open a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Republican presidential candidate.”
So Strzok was talking to reporters, but he didn’t have anything damning to give them, owing to the baselessness and fruitlessness of his investigation. He is now trying to turn that into a virtue. But it wasn’t. He had started an improper investigation and was desperately trying to entrap Trump campaign members in an attempt to justify it. Had he found something, Strzok would have surely leaked it to the press before election day.
It is too bad the Republicans didn’t ask Strzok about his relationship with John Brennan, to whom Strzok served as FBI liaison. Did Strzok encourage Brennan to leak information about the investigation to Harry Reid before election day? The question wasn’t asked, but it should have been. The Brennan-Strzok relationship, which was nourished by an intense hatred of Trump, lies at the root of this scandal.
Who are they kidding? They did want to hurt candidate Trump. The problem was that they didn’t have any evidence of collusion to leak, a problem they tried to remedy by running a spy into the campaign’s ranks. They needed a late-campaign surprise, but their “confidential informant” Stefan Halper, for all of his oafish entrapment attempts, couldn’t produce one. Yet that still didn’t stop Brennan from getting Reid to push anti-Trump smears out to his friends in the press.
Strzok, upon seeing Brennan’s handiwork, excitedly texted his mistress, “Here we go,” and sent her a link to an article about Reid’s leak.
The Strzok on display at the hearing was the same arrogant bureaucrat on display in the texts — an abusive, ruling-class jerk who still thinks he deserves a place on the Mueller probe. Making Mueller look like an ass and cementing his probe’s reputation as a partisan clown show, Strzok insisted that his removal from it had nothing to do with unprofessional behavior but with a mere “appearance” problem, one he blamed not on his own conduct but on Republicans “misinterpreting” his texts. This is chutzpah on a breathtaking scale, which would be inconceivable were the target of his blundering espionage anyone other than Trump. Strzok’s “insurance policy” against Trump had a provision for his career too. He would survive exposure by wrapping himself in the protective gauze of the anti-Trump resistance.