- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Peter Strzok believed joining the Special Counsel’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign would be a way of resolving “unfinished business” from his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the 2016 presidential election. 

This looks, really bad, and Strzok’s explanation of this text doesn’t pass the smell test. 

Of the myriad of damning and incriminating text messages uncovered and explained in the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s report last week, FBI Agent Strzok’s exchange with his alleged paramour Lisa Page the day after Robert Mueller was appointed as chief inquisitor of the Trump campaign may be the most damning for the agent and for the Mueller investigation, itself. 

Here’s how the email exchange is described in IG Horowitz’ report: 

May 18, 2017: Mueller was appointed Special Counsel on May 17, 2017. The next day Strzok and Page exchanged text messages in a discussion of whether Strzok should join the Special Counsel’s investigation. Strzok wrote: “For me, and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business. I unleashed it with MYE [Midyear Exam, the investigation into Clinton’s emails]. Now I need to fix it and finish it.” Later in the same exchange, Strzok, apparently while weighing his career options, made this comparison: “Who gives a f*ck, one more A[ssistant] D[irector]…[versus] [a]n investigation leading to impeachment?” Later in this exchange, Strzok stated, “you and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”

Strzok’s admission that he saw the Mueller probe as a way to “fix” whatever “unfinished business” he had as a result of “MYE” which refers specifically to the investigation of Clinton’s unauthorized email scheme leads any reasonable observer to reach an obvious conclusion. 

First, understand who we know Peter Strzok is. I have detailed on these pages the remarkable influence and authority Strzok had in all of the controversial investigations that have dominated the news since the middle of the 2016 election cycle. 

Strzok is an FBI official with enormous influence and authority over both the email investigation (Midyear Exam) and the counterintelligence investigation into alleged influence by the Russian government in the 2016 election (Crossfire Hurricane.)

He was also lead investigator on both those operations as well as the FBI agent who interviewed then-National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn That interview led to Flynn’s dubious guilty plea at the hands of the Mueller team in late 2017. 

Which brings us to the date of this damning text message referenced in the IG report. Be Peter Strzok for a moment. Put yourself in the place of being a virulent Trump hater and a dejected Hillary supporter. Take yourself back to that day in May 2018. Just yesterday Robert Mueller was named as Special Counsel to investigate the Trump campaign. This came about several days after your friend and mentor, FBI Director was fired by a man you swore would never reach the Oval Office. 

Now, an investigation has begun that could very well lead to charges of obstruction of justice against Trump. You send on of your seemingly hundreds of daily texts to your gal pal Lisa Page and discuss whether you should ask to join the Mueller probe. In the context of your career ambitions and your desire to “do good” as a public servant, you weigh the importance of joining Mueller versus staying on as Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. 

Now, examine those texts again remembering how much you hate Trump and how you promised Page you’d “stop” him from being president. And, if you couldn’t, you’d have an “insurance policy” in case of the “unlikely event” he should ever win the election. 

Given all of that background, look at Strzok’s texts: 

“For me, and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business. I unleashed it with MYE [Midyear Exam, the investigation into Clinton’s emails]. Now I need to fix it and finish it.”

“Who gives a f*ck, one more A[ssistant] D[irector]…[versus] [a]n investigation leading to impeachment?”

“you and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”

Strzok believes he “unleashed it with MYE.” He believes his handling of the Clinton investigation (especially re-opening the investigation ten days before election day) led to Trump’s victory.  This is not an unreasonable interpretation of Strzok’s text. Most Clinton supporters (and Clinton herself) believe this to be true. Strzok was guilt-ridden over “unleashing” Trump on the world as president. 

More damning, Strzok decides he needs to “fix and finish it.” Fix what he broke. Stop Trump. Stop him from being president. 

Connect that with the next two texts. “Who gives a f*ck about one more AD (his current position at the FBI as he’s sending this text) versus an “investigation leading to impeachment.” He’s thinking about the glory and career satisfaction of bringing down Trump

(Side note: This text also puts to bed the myth that the Mueller investigation never had anything to do with President Trump himself or his presidency. We keep hearing that this is all about finding out whether the Russians influenced the 2016 election. That’s just… bullpucky.  It was an open discussion at DOJ and the FBI immediately following the Mueller appointment that this whole thing was about impeaching Trump. Remember, Strzok was actually chosen to be on the Mueller team. And he clearly saw the Mueller probe as a means to impeach Trump.) 

So, how does Strzok explain his texts? The Washington Post reports that both Strzok and Page have conflicting explanations: 

“It wasn’t so much the investigation about [Clinton],” he said, “but then how it played into, how it was being portrayed in the political environment, how it was being leveraged by the government of Russia and all the social media disseminations.” What he wanted to fix, he said, was the misperception that Russia hadn’t tried to influence the election.

That explanation doesn’t pass even a modicum of scrutiny. Strzok specifically sites “MYE” or the Clinton email investigation he conducted as the “unfinished business” he “unleashed” that he wants to “fix.” MYE had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with Russian meddling. How can Strzok claim that his direct reference to MYE wasn’t about the Clinton investigation? He can’t. Unless his claim is meant to re-write history. 

Page, on the other hand, had a different explanation of the damning exchange: 

Page suggested that the “unfinished business” was “a reflection of our Director having been fired” — a reference to the firing of James B. Comey, whose termination as FBI director by Trump led to Mueller’s appointment. That firing was predicated on Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.

This just doesn’t stand up to the facts at hand. At all. Again, Strzok specifically referenced “MYE” in his “unfinished business” statement. If he had meant Comey, he would have probably mentioned Comey. He did not. 

And, the fact that Page and Strzok have two entirely different interpretations of this smoking gun text message tells you that the alibis and CYA actions are in full force here. Given the thousands and thousands of texts between these two, one can’t reasonably believe that the meaning of this one text wasn’t clear.

Page knew Strzok very, very well. Most of their communications were carried out via text message. They rarely (if ever) had to ask each other what one of their texts meant. The idea that she had a different understanding of this one text than Strzok had defies credulity. 

They both know exactly what this text meant. That’s why they are now coming up with unbelievable alternate explanations. Because they know how damning this is. 

Srtrzok needs to answer many, many questions. He needs to answer them under oath. And it needs to happen soon. 

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