Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, December 5, 2019
As nervous deep staters and their major media allies sweat the Dec. 9 release of the Department of Justice inspector general’s report on alleged FBI abuses in the Trump-Russia investigation, the record already shows a slew of FBI misdeeds.
Those who have been relieved of their duties amid the ongoing scandal include former FBI Director James Comey; his deputy Andrew McCabe; and anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok. Lisa Page, FBI lawyer lover of the married Strzok, resigned her post.
“To date, four inspector general reports and internal Justice Department documents have found senior FBI officials guilty of lying, insubordination, security violations, mishandling confidential material and personal biases against President Trump,” Rowan Scarborough noted in a Dec. 4 report for The Washington Times.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who discovered that the FBI had used a the bogus Democratic Party-financed anti-Trump dossier as evidence, often refers to bureau leaders as “dirty cops.”
Page and Strzok, who exchanged anti-Trump emails including one which alluded to an “insurance policy” should he become president, are the subjects of the sharpest criticism by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Strzok, since fired, headed the FBI’s probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecure email server and then shifted to overseeing the investigation into Russian election interference and the 2016 Trump campaign.
Said Horowitz in his report: “We were deeply troubled by text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations. Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation. … When one senior FBI official, Strzok, who was helping to lead the Russia investigation at the time, conveys in a text message to another senior FBI official, Page, that ‘we’ll stop’ candidate Trump from being elected — after other extensive text messages between the two disparaging candidate Trump — it is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”
On Comey’s decision to unilaterally exonerate Hillary Clinton, Horowitz said he found the FBI director’s action “insubordinate.” At a July 5, 2016, press conference, Comey said Clinton was “extremely careless” but did not break the law.
“Comey admitted that he concealed his intentions from the Department until the morning of his press conference on July 5, and instructed his staff to do the same, to make it impracticable for Department leadership to prevent him from delivering his statement. We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to do so,” Horowitz concluded.
In a separate 2018 report, Horowitz found that McCabe, the No. 2 FBI agent, lied to investigators about his involvement in leaking a story about himself to The Wall Street Journal. The story’s aim was to burnish his image as an independent lawman.
McCabe allegedly lied when he said Comey approved of the leak, post-story, and when he tried to blame the leak on unidentified agents in his circle of associates.
The Trump Justice Department ended up firing McCabe and Strzok while Page resigned.
In August, Horowitz announced the results of his fourth Comey-era probe, this one into the director himself. The focus was on Comey’s unprecedented decision to write and retain his personal memos about the president. He leaked the contents of one memo to The New York Times.
“Fired by Trump in May 2017, Comey had a simple motive: to provoke the appointment of a special prosecutor, which happened,” Scarborough noted.
Horowitz concluded: “Comey’s actions with respect to the Memos violated Department and FBI policies concerning the retention, handling, and dissemination of FBI records and information, and violated the requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.”
The DOJ declined to bring criminal charges against Comey, who has steadfastly defended the Trump-Russia hoax, an investigation he started in July 2016.
“There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that,” Comey wrote this spring in an op-ed in The Washington Post. “There were just good people trying to figure out what was true, under unprecedented circumstances.”
Strzok, the counterintelligence specialist, filed a lawsuit against the department in August to try to gain his reinstatement.
“The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok in violation of his Constitutional rights was the result of a long and public campaign by President Trump and his allies to vilify Strzok and pressure the agency to terminate him,” the lawsuit states.
Justice Department attorneys responded last month by filing in court the Aug. 8, 2018, letter notifying Strzok of his initial suspension. The letter, signed by Candice Hill, assistant director of the FBI’s office of professional responsibility, lists a series of transgressions.
“Of serious concern was the overly political tone of many of your text messages related to the 2016 presidential election, including statements expressing hostility for then-candidate Donald Trump and support for then-candidate Hillary Clinton,” the letter states. “Even more concerning, certain text messages mixed your political opinions with discussions about the work you were conducting on the Clinton email and Russia investigations, which raised serious questions about your impartiality and whether your political opinions affected your investigative decisions.”
The letter adds to a list of “unprofessional conduct” the fact that Strzok used a personal email account to conduct FBI business.
The letter notes a text on July 31, 2016, the day Strzok opened the counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign: “And damn this [Russia investigation] feel momentous. Because this matters. The other [Clinton] did too, but that was to ensure we didn’t F something up. this matters because this MATTERS.”
A week later, Page texted, “[Mr. Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right?!”
Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
The Strzok-Page team ended up transferring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, but Horowitz discovered their texts during the email probe. Mueller removed the two from his investigation. Word leaked out months later, in December 2017.
“When media outlets learned of your illicit relationship with [Ms. Page], and the nature of your political text messaging, the story became a media sensation,” the suspension letter said. “It was widely reported, cast doubt on the FBI’s investigative findings and the Special Counsel’s investigation and brought harsh criticism upon the FBI from politicians at all levels in both political parties, President Trump and the media and the public.”
The letter also accuses Strzok of numerous security violations by using his personal phone to conduct FBI business. On one occasion, his wife gained access to his phone, which Strzok called “unusual.”
The FBI’s internal probe found Strzok guilty of “dereliction of supervisory responsibility.”