Posts Tagged ‘Peter Strzok’

Dossiers and Disinformation

January 15, 2018

How a former reporter helped a foreign national inject dubious allegations into the presidential race.

Glenn Simpson, in the now-released transcript of last summer’s interview with congressional investigators on the Trump dossier, mentions his former employment with The Wall Street Journal and Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper.

He doesn’t mention the Unification Church-owned (i.e., Moonies) Insight magazine in the mid-1980s. I know because I worked there too. As did others: Malcolm Gladwell was one—I got his desk when he left for the Washington Post. John Podhoretz, a columnist for the New York Post and editor of Commentary…

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/dossiers-and-disinformation-1515793778

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DEEP STATE DOSSIER DISINFORMATION

Establishment media ignore the real sources of the Russia investigation.

George Papadopoulos was the “improbable match that set off a blaze that has consumed the first year of the Trump administration.” Like the Trump campaign itself, advisor Papadopoulos “proved to be a tantalizing target for a Russian influence operation.”

Thus opens a 2500-plus-word December 30 New York Times piece headlined “How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt,” by Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazetti and Matt Apuzzo, with reporting by Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Matthew Rosenberg. The multiple authorship betokens serious investigation but this piece shapes up as dezinformatsiya and the Times gives it away in the early going.

“It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign,” that started the investigation, and there is some truth to that. The dossier, one of the dirtiest tricks political tricks in US history, was only part of a plan revealed by FBI counterintelligence boss Peter Strzok in the office of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. As a Strzok email explained: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he 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. . .”

Like FBI boss James Comey, Strzok was a partisan of Hillary Clinton, the likely reason he got the job of spearheading the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. It was Strzok who changed “gross negligence” to “extremely careless,” freeing the Democrat from the prospect of criminal charges. As David Horowitz said, it was the greatest political fix in American history.

Donald Trump went on to win the White House but for Democrat “progressives,” that meant that Trump and Putin must have teamed up to steal the election from Hillary. That is the real source of the Russia investigation, sanctified in December 2016 by Senators Chuck Schumer, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Jack Reed. None was a fan of Trump and it recently emerged that McCain associate David Kramer, formerly with the State Department, met with dossier co-author Christopher Steele. The New York Times piece fails to mention Mr. Kramer and remains reluctant to follow the money, supposedly the first rule of investigative reporting.

The Clintons are not exactly short on cash and FBI deputy director “Andy” McCabe got some $500,000 from the Clintons for his wife’s political campaign. The establishment media are not curious whether Peter Strzok got a piece of the action, and if so how much. The Clinton’s faithful Odd Job would not be the first FBI man to grab the gold from under the table.

The FBI’s Robert Hanssen gave thousands of pages of classified material to the KGB and its Russian successor agency the SVR.  In return, the Russians gave him $600,000 in cash and diamonds, plus another $800,000 in a Russian bank. The FBI’s Richard Miller engaged in an affair with Svetlana Ogorodnikova and gave the Russian an FBI counterintelligence manual in exchange for sexual favors, $15,000 in cash and $50,000 in gold. FBI agent Earl Pitts gave KGB agent Aleksandr Karpov classified information and unmasked an FBI agent working in counterintelligence. The KGB and its Russian SVR successor paid Pitts $224,000.

Strzok works counterintelligence but on his watch Pakistani-born Iman Awan enjoyed access to the computers of the House Intelligence Committee and the Democrats’ favorite IT man performed his IT work from Pakistan for several months a year. If Peter Strzok knew about Awan’s illicit data-mining operation it seems clear he did nothing to stop it. On the other hand, POTUS 44 had commanded the FBI to look the other way when Muslims were involved, and the Bureau, which wields a budget approaching $9 billion, duly followed orders.

In the office of Andy McCabe, Peter Strzok discussed the “insurance policy” with his consensual flame Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and Clinton devotee. When that emerged, new FBI boss Christopher Wray did not fire Strzok and take his gun and badge. Instead Wray stashed Strzok in human resources, where he will still command access to FBI records.

After all this, and a lot more, the New York Times opts to point the finger at George Papadopoulos. The establishment media prefer to claim that the FBI’s Clinton fan club and the bogus dossier had nothing to do with the Russia investigation.

Did the FBI perchance deploy the dossier to secure a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign? Russophile Nellie Ohr, wife of demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr, duly hired on at Fusion GPS. What was Nellie’s role in the dossier?  Who paid for the dossier? Congress has been trying to get answers but the FBI has been stonewalling. What are they trying to hide?

Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wants the DOJ and FBI to hand over all documents related to the dossier on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. The committee also seeks to interview Ohr, Strzok, FBI attorneys James Baker, Lisa Page, and Sally Moyer and FBI assistant congressional affairs boss Greg Brower.

If the FBI and DOJ fail to comply in full, that will certify their partisan corruption, the larger back story of the Russia investigation. All testimony should be public so the people can watch on C-SPAN and avoid the deep-state disinformation of the old-line establishment media.

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268897/deep-state-dossier-disinformation-lloyd-billingsley

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Hillary Clinton Mulling Role in 2018 Midterms

December 22, 2017

Brietbart

 

Failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, having spent much of 2017 in the spotlight relitigating the 2016 election, is reportedly mulling a role in the 2018 midterms — a move that is far from clear that it would help Democrats in swing states.

The Hill reports that, despite his low favorability numbers, Clinton confidants have spoken to Clinton in recent months about a 2018 role, and the former secretary of state is considering her options.

“She’s the human personification of what the split in the country is,” said one Clinton friend, according to the Hill. “And look, she understands what that means and what that means for her. She’s very attuned to what’s going on. She’s not confused about it. She has some people pulling on her to be involved and others who are saying, ‘maybe not.’”

An entrance from Clinton is a risky move for Democrats, not just due to her polarizing influence but also due to the lingering questions over her conduct as secretary of state. The 2010 Uranium Deal, which Clinton’s State Department approved and which sent 20 percent of U.S. uranium to a Russian energy giant, is being re-examined by the Justice Department after revelations about Russian bribery.

Meanwhile, revelations that top FBI investigator Peter Strzok — who headed up the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state — was demoted after he sent anti-Trump texts has raised questions about the impartiality and the conclusions of that probe.

Some experts told the Hill that a Clinton intervention may actually help the GOP, as it may be more beneficial for the party to focus on Clinton than Trump — who is also a divisive figure.

“She offers a political villain of sorts to help generate the kind of turnout that might otherwise be lacking,” Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told the Hill.

Nonetheless, sources tell the Hill she is “gearing up,” particularly with her political group “Onward Together.”

“I don’t see a scenario where she’s not doing anything publicly,” one Clinton ally told the Hill.

Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

Trump Speaks At FBI Academy — After Trashing the Bureau — “It’ll be bigger and better than ever.” — “We’ll Bring The FBI Back To Greatness.”

December 15, 2017

.@POTUS: 'It's a shame what's happened with the FBI. But we're going to rebuild the FBI. It'll be bigger and better than ever.'

“It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI. But we’re going to rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever.”

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The White House said Friday newly revealed FBI records show there is “extreme bias” against President Donald Trump among senior leadership at the FBI. The accusation came hours before Trump was scheduled to speak at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va.

President Donald Trump is expected to deliver remarks at the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony today at 10 a.m. ET. 

Trump, who has described the agency as “in tatters,” is to speak at a ceremony at the FBI campus for law enforcement leaders graduating from a program aimed at raising law enforcement standards.

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News Channel that edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Hillary Clinton’s private email server and text messages from a top agent critical of Trump are “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley charged, as special counsel Robert Mueller pushes on with a probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. Gidley says Trump maintains confidence in the FBI’s rank-and-file.

Edits to the Comey draft appeared to soften the gravity of the bureau’s finding in its 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Gidley said the disclosure of politically charged text messages sent by one of the agents on the Clinton case, Peter Strzok, were “eye-opening.” Strzok, who was in the room as Clinton was interviewed, was later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to investigate potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. He was re-assigned after the messages were uncovered this summer.

About 200 leaders in law enforcement from around the country attended the weeks-long FBI National Academy program aimed at raising law enforcement standards and cooperation. Coursework included intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-live-trump-to-deliver-graduation-speech-at-fbi-national-academy

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NBC News

 

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump lamented the “sad” state of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and promised to rebuilt “bigger and better than ever” ahead of a speech to academy graduates Friday.

As he departed the White House for Quantico, he told reporters “it’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, but we’re going to rebuild the FBI, it’ll be bigger and better than ever”

Play
 Watch Live: Trump speaks at FBI National Academy graduation

Referencing the 90 pages of newly-released messages, critical of the president, between an FBI lawyer and an agent later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Trump called it “sad when you look at those documents and how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

When Mueller learned of the exchanges last summer, he removed the agent from the team.

Trump tweeted earlier this month that the FBI’s “reputation is in tatters,” prompting FBI staffers — including Trump’s own pick to head the agency after he fired former director James Comey — to defend it against the president’s assertions.

After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.

“The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran,” FBI director Christopher Wray said last week during an appearance in front of the House Judiciary.

During the passionate, two-minute long defense, Wray described the FBI he leads as “respected and appreciated by our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement, in the intelligence community, and by our foreign counterparts in both law enforcement and national security in something like 200 countries around the globe.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-laments-sad-state-fbi-ahead-speech-academy-graduates-n830026

FBI records show ‘extreme bias’ against Trump, White House says

December 15, 2017

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Friday newly revealed FBI records show there is “extreme bias” against President Donald Trump among senior leadership at the FBI. The accusation came hours before Trump was scheduled to speak at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va.

Trump, who has described the agency as “in tatters,” is to speak at a ceremony at the FBI campus for law enforcement leaders graduating from a program aimed at raising law enforcement standards.

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News Channel that edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Hillary Clinton’s private email server and text messages from a top agent critical of Trump are “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley charged, as special counsel Robert Mueller pushes on with a probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. Gidley says Trump maintains confidence in the FBI’s rank-and-file.

Edits to the Comey draft appeared to soften the gravity of the bureau’s finding in its 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Gidley said the disclosure of politically charged text messages sent by one of the agents on the Clinton case, Peter Strzok, were “eye-opening.” Strzok, who was in the room as Clinton was interviewed, was later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to investigate potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. He was re-assigned after the messages were uncovered this summer.

About 200 leaders in law enforcement from around the country attended the weeks-long FBI National Academy program aimed at raising law enforcement standards and cooperation. Coursework included intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science.

Related:

 

Growing Evidence Of A Politically Tainted Clinton Investigation

December 15, 2017

 Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

Huma Abedin, aide to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, points as Mrs. Clinton waves to attendees at the conclusion of the second official 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

By Peter Hasson
The Daily Caller

A series of new revelations about the FBI under James Comey has provided more evidence that partisan agents may have abused their agency positions for political purposes during the Hillary Clinton email investigation and 2016 presidential campaign.

Top FBI agent Peter Strzok, the public now knows, was removed from the Mueller investigation after a Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (IG) investigation revealed damning text messages between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

The messages show Strzok and Page praising Clinton, discussing whether Strzok could use his position to protect the country from Donald Trump — whom they described as “that menace” — and referring to an unnamed “insurance policy” in case Trump beat Clinton.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he 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” Strzok said of Trump in one message to Page. “Andy” referred to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has close ties to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally. (RELATED: McAuliffe Helped Campaign Of FBI Official’s Wife)

Strzok is reported to be the agent who officially signed into existence the Russia investigation that now plagues the Trump administration.

During the Clinton investigation, Strzok led the interviews of top Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin — neither of whom faced consequences for making false statements in those interviews.

Comey drafted a letter exonerating Clinton months before the investigation ended, and months before the FBI ever interviewed Clinton and her aides.

Comey’s draft originally described Clinton’s handling of the server as “grossly negligent” — a term that carries legal significance but was later charged to “extremely careless.”

Strzok, who later conducted those interviews, is reportedly the agent who watered down the investigation’s conclusion months before it was finished.

Strzok, Boston Herald columnist Adriana Cohen notes, “was also the agent who interviewed Hillary Clinton last summer without recording it or putting her under oath, thereby shielding her from a process prosecution or perjury trap — not afforded to others — namely Trump associates, including Michael Flynn, who is now facing perjury charges.”

In other words: the heart of the Clinton investigation ran through an FBI agent, Strzok, who was rooting for her to beat both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker, who has been vocally supportive of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, said last week that the Strzok-Page scandal “casts a cloud over much of the Clinton investigation, in my opinion, the e-mail investigation.”

Swecker noted that Strzok “was a very key agent in so many different things” and said the scandal showed “disarray that is left over from the Comey era.” Swecker made that assessment before the contents of the texts (which exhibited more political bias than many onlookers had expected) became public.

The Wall Street Journal ran a scathing editorial on Thursday that called for more congressional oversight of the Russia investigation following the texts’ publication.

“The man who should be most disturbed by all this is Mr. Mueller, who wants his evidence and conclusions to be credible with the public,” the editorial concluded. “Evidence is building instead that some officials at the FBI—who have worked for him—may have interfered in an American presidential election.”

Documents released by Judicial Watch raise further questions about the neutrality of senior FBI agents during the Clinton investigation.

The documents reveal that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was troubled by a report in True Pundit — an anonymously written, pro-Trump website — that cited an FBI source accusing McCabe and other FBI officials of soft-pedaling the Clinton investigation because they were rooting for her to win.

The emails show McCabe viewed the source’s account — which described the FBI leadership as politically biased actors in favor of Hillary Clinton — as knowledgeable of the FBI’s inner workings.

McCabe’s wife sent him the article in an email, which he then forwarded to Comey. “FYI. Heavyweight source,” McCabe wrote to Comey.

“McCabe was one of the few people who backed Comey’s decision not to refer Hillary Clinton to the Justice Department for indictment,” the source told True Pundit. “McCabe and Comey are both lawyers. They aren’t street agents. They’re more political. We wanted her (Clinton) indicted. They did not.”

That account, which McCabe believed must have come from a “heavyweight source,” described the deputy director as one of the few FBI insiders to support Comey’s leniency towards Clinton, a decision the source claimed was influenced by his wife’s political campaign.

Comey disagreed, saying it must have been a lower-level staffer who heard “rumors.”

Congressional Democrats sent a letter on Monday demanding the agency release any documents of “animus” against Clinton, specifically citing the leak to True Pundit as evidence of an anti-Clinton bias within the FBI.

“The letter suggests that True Pundit — an anonymously written pro-Trump website — received information from FBI agents frustrated with the agency’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server,” Politico reported.

McCabe, who became acting FBI director after Trump fired Comey, conceded in May that “there were folks within our agency that were frustrated with the outcome of the Hillary Clinton case and some of those folks were very vocal about those concerns.”

That statement followed reports that some rank-and-file FBI agents were upset with the way the agency’s leadership, including Strzok and McCabe, had handled the Clinton investigation.

FBI agents previously told The Daily Caller that Comey “stood in the way” of the Clinton investigation’s advancement. (RELATED: FBI Agents Say Comey ‘Stood In The Way’ Of Clinton Email Investigation)

Comey himself had hinted at concerns that the Department of Justice was interfering with the Clinton investigation.

He testified in June that Loretta Lynch, the former attorney general under Barack Obama, pressured him to downplay the Clinton email server investigation and only refer to it as a “matter.” Lynch’s spin, Comey said, matched the Clinton campaign’s “inaccurate” talking points on the subject.

“I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but it gave the impression that the attorney general [Lynch] was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way the political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate,” Comey said. (RELATED: Lynch Successfully Pressured Comey To Mislead Public Using Clinton Campaign’s ‘Inaccurate’ Talking Points)

Comey also said that he was concerned about Lynch’s secret tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton.

When asked by Texas Sen. John Cornyn if it would be fair to say Lynch had a “conflict of interest” in the Clinton email investigation, Comey answered in the affirmative: “That’s fair.”

After the secret tarmac meeting became public, Lynch said she would accept the FBI’s recommendation in the investigation. However, she never recused herself from the probe altogether, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions did in the Russia investigation.

Another DOJ official, Peter Kadzik, secretly helped the Clinton campaign navigate the email investigation.

Kadzik tipped off Podesta to several new developments in the Clinton investigation, telling him “heads up.” Emails show Podesta circulated the warning to other campaign officials with the message: “Additional chances for mischief.”

Kadzik was only exposed when WikiLeaks published Podesta’s emails in October 2016. (RELATED: Strzok’s Texts And The Clinton-Trump Investigations — A Definitive Timeline)

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http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/14/fbi-hillary-clinton-email-investigation-peter-strzok-lisa-page-james-comey/

Mueller probe: Releasing the texts of two members of the Trump-Russia probe was an astonishing breach of privacy

December 15, 2017

By Eli Lake
Bloomberg News

Remember the last time Republicans said the FBI was pro-Clinton? That was just before Democrats said James Comey and his FBI were anti-Clinton.

 Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a Justice Department scandal regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s influence of the 2016 election, it’s hiding in plain sight. Look no further than the government’s release of the private texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Both Strzok, an FBI counter-intelligence agent, and Page, an FBI lawyer, were involved in the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and were both briefly on Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s influence of the 2016 election. In the texts from 2015 and 2016, they complained about the Republican presidential nominee’s intelligence and demeanor (including in unprintable terms). In July, those private texts came to the attention of the Justice Department’s inspector general. The FBI reassigned Strzok to human resources, while Page left the special counsel’s probe.

The inspector general’s investigation is ongoing. Perhaps more evidence will emerge that the privately held opinions of two investigators contributed to then-FBI director James Comey’s decision in July 2016 not to charge Clinton with a crime. (That was when the Republicans said the FBI was pro-Clinton. Before Comey called the finality of that inquiry into question just days before the 2016 election and the Democrats said the FBI was anti-Clinton.) Until charges are pressed and evidence is considered, however, Page and Strzok are owed some due process.

They aren’t getting it. This week, the Justice Department not only disclosed to Congress their private texts during an ongoing investigation, but then briefed their private texts to the media. This last point was first reported Wednesday by Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider. I was also able to confirm it.

When I asked Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman, about the due process rights of Strzok and Page, he said: “The Department ensures that its release of information from the Department to members of Congress or to the media is consistent with law, including the Privacy Act.” He went on to say that the information the Department provided to Congress in response to requests for the information was not subject “withholding exceptions,” that lawyers for Congress and relevant parties were informed of this beforehand and that “career officials determined that the text messages could be released under both ethical and legal standards.”

If that is the case, then the Justice Department is in need of reform. Let’s start with an obvious point. Publication of someone’s private texts — even if they are conducted on government phones — is an astonishing breach of privacy. How many of us say or write things intended for one person that we would not say in a public forum? Also consider how a snippet of one’s conversation in private can be taken out of context to misconstrue its meaning.

It’s not relevant whether the investigators held private political opinions. We should assume that all federal employees do. FBI officers and lawyers are American citizens with the same free speech rights as the rest of us.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acknowledged this on Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee. He said: “We recognize we have employees with political opinions. It’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions.”

Former assistant U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy, a withering critic of the investigation into Trump, told me that he had problems with the way this case has been handled. “I think it’s wrong that their texts have been massively released to the public,” he said. “I do think they should have been vetted so that only stuff that was relevant to whether there was bias in Mueller’s investigation was sent to Congress. Congress is entitled to look at that, just as Mueller was entitled to look at that. But in an investigation, the public usually doesn’t have a right to know about this until charges are brought.”

McCarthy’s point is well taken. It’s hard to know what to make of all of this until all of the facts come in. The most damning text to emerge from the batch was where Strzok wrote to Page: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he 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.”  In this text, “Andy” is deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe.

That doesn’t look great. It’s also inconclusive. It’s something the Justice Department’s inspector general should be running down. It’s also something that would be appropriate for oversight committees in Congress to examine. What is this “insurance plan? Is this a reference to the FBI’s investigation, which started a few weeks earlier, into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russian efforts to influence the election? From that text alone, it’s impossible to know.

What is possible to know in this case is that officials more senior than Strzok and Page did appear to exercise influence on the Clinton email probe. There was the instruction from President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, to former FBI director James Comey, for example, to refer to his investigation as a “matter.” There was also Obama’s own statement to the media before that “matter” was closed, saying that none of the material on Clinton’s private server amounted to a serious breach of classified information.

Finally there are bits and pieces of what we know about Strzok himself. U.S. intelligence officials that I talked to about him tell me he is an outstanding counter-intelligence officer who worked well with both the Obama and Trump administrations. What’s more, Strzok was one of the FBI agents who interviewed Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, about his phone calls to the Russian ambassador in January. Multiple news outlets reported that the FBI officials who interviewed Flynn did not conclude he had deliberately lied,

even though this month Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in that interview. If Strzok had allowed his anti-Trump bias to influence his work, why wouldn’t he report that Flynn had intentionally deceived him?

That is another good question for the oversight committees and the Justice Department’s inspector general. All of this is to say that we should reserve judgment about Strzok and Page.

The Justice Department’s decision to instead release private communications is reminiscent of the weeks before the 2016 election, when FBI officials leaked their own complaints about how the investigation into the Clinton Foundation was stymied — when documents involving former attorney general Eric Holder’s handling of former President Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich were mysteriously tweeted out from a long-dormant FBI account. Back then, the same Republicans who now accuse the FBI of trying to destroy Trump were cheering the bureau’s last-minute intervention in the election on his behalf.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
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To contact the author of this story:
Eli Lake at elake1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Philip Gray at philipgray@bloomberg.net

The FBI’s Trump ‘Insurance’

December 14, 2017

More troubling evidence of election meddling at the bureau.

Democrats and the media are accusing anyone who criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller as Trumpian conspirators trying to undermine his probe. But who needs critics when Mr. Mueller’s team is doing so much to undermine its own credibility?

Wednesday’s revelations—they’re coming almost daily—include the Justice Department’s release of 2016 text messages to and from Peter Strzok, the FBI counterintelligence agent whom Mr. Mueller demoted this summer. The texts, which he exchanged with senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, contain…

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fbis-trump-insurance-1513210929

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‘We Can’t Take That Risk’ — FBI Officials Discussed ‘Insurance Policy’ Against Trump Presidency

By CHUCK ROSS
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Two FBI officials who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation exchanged text messages last year in which they appear to have discussed ways to prevent Donald Trump from being elected president.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok wrote in a cryptic text message to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his mistress.

“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok wrote in the text, dated Aug. 15, 2016.

Andy is likely Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

The text message is one of 375 released Tuesday night ahead of a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (RELATED: Strzok Called Trump An ‘Idiot’ In Text To Fellow Mueller Investigator)

Several congressional panels have sought the text messages since their existence was revealed earlier this month. Strzok, who was a top investigator on both the Trump investigation and the Clinton email probe, was kicked off of Mueller’s team over the summer after the text messages were discovered.

It remains unclear why the existence of the texts was not disclosed until nearly four months after Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation.

Strzok and Page’s exchanges show a deep disdain for Trump and admiration for Clinton. In a text sent on Oct. 20, 2016, Strzok called the Republican a “f*cking idiot.”

In on Aug. 6 text, Strzok responded to an article shared by Page by replying, “F Trump.”

The pair exchanged another cryptic text message that same day.

“Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace,” Page wrote.

“I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps,” Strzok replied.

Like many of the exchanges, the full context of the message is not entirely clear.

Strzok also offered praise for Clinton while suggesting that he planned to vote for her.

In a March 2, 2016 text Strzok said he would likely vote for Clinton. In another exchange he wrote that if Trump won the Republican primary, Clinton would likely win the presidency.

“God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0,” he told Page.

Strzok also congratulated Page after Clinton clinched the Democratic party nomination.

“Congrats on a woman nominated for President in a major party! About damn time!” he wrote in a July 26, 2016 text.

While he was praising Clinton, Strzok was working at the center of the investigation into the Democrat’s use of a private email server. He emailed Clinton on July 2, 2016 — three days before then-FBI Director James Comey cleared her of criminal wrongdoing. (RELATED: FBI Agent Praised Hillary Clinton While Leading Email Investigation)

In the weeks before and after his politically-charged texts, Strzok interviewed several Clinton aides who sent and received classified emails that ended up on Clinton’s email server.

Two of those aides were Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. Both appear to have provided misleading responses to questions about their awareness of Clinton’s use of a private server. But despite their false statements, neither Abedin nor Mills were charged with lying to the FBI. (RELATED: Clinton Aides Went Unpunished Despite Giving Misleading Statements In FBI Interview)

That’s in contrast with another Strzok interview subject: Retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn.

Strzok interviewed the then-national security adviser at the White House on Jan. 24 regarding Flynn’s conversations during the presidential transition period with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to the FBI during that interview.

Strzok was picked to oversee the Russia investigation at the end of July 2016, several weeks after the Clinton probe ended.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/13/fbi-officials-discussed-insurance-policy-against-trump-presidency/

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Rosenstein stands by Mueller probe as Republicans fume over ‘insider bias’

December 13, 2017

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stood by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe Wednesday, despite a newly unearthed trove of damning text messages and other details that Republicans said show an “insider bias” on the investigative team.

Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and has overseen the Russia probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, testified before the House Judiciary Committee — and faced a grilling from GOP lawmakers.

They zeroed in on anti-Trump text messages exchanged between two FBI agents who once worked on the Mueller team.

“This is unbelievable,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, voicing concern that the “public trust” in the probe is gone.

Republicans for weeks have raised concerns that some investigators may be biased, citing everything from their political donations to past work representing top Democratic figures and allied groups including the Clinton Foundation.

MORE CLINTON TIES ON MUELLER TEAM: ONE DEPUTY ATTENDED CLINTON PARTY, ANOTHER REP’D TOP AIDE

But when committee Ranking Member Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., pressed Rosenstein over whether he had seen “good cause” to remove Mueller from his post, Rosenstein pushed back.

“No,” Rosenstein said.

Nadler asked whether Rosenstein would fire Mueller if he were ordered to do so.

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated before President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey arrive at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington. A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian election meddling after the discovery of an exchange of text messages seen as potentially anti-President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller discusses his investigation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  (AP)

“I would follow regulation. If there were good cause, I would act. If there was no good cause, I would not,” Rosenstein replied, doubling down that he has seen “no good cause” to do so.

He suggested the probe is being conducted appropriately at this stage.

But just hours prior to Rosenstein’s testimony, the Justice Department released hundreds of texts messages between two FBI officials—Peter Strzok and Lisa Page—who worked on Mueller’s team and were romantically involved. Many were anti-Trump and pro-Clinton.

In one exchange from August 2016, Page forwarded a Donald Trump-related article to Strzok, writing: “And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.”

TEXTS SHOW FBI AGENTS FUMING OVER TRUMP: ‘PROTECT THE COUNTRY FROM THAT MENACE’ 

He responded: “Thanks. It’s absolutely true that we’re both very fortunate. And of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps.’”

In March 2016, Page texted Strzok, “God, Trump is a loathsome human.”

“Yet he many[sic] win,” Strzok responded. “Good for Hillary.”

Later the same day, Strzok texted Page, “Omg [Trump’s] an idiot.”

“He’s awful,” Page answered.

The messages were given to the House Judiciary Committee.

“We are now beginning to understand the magnitude of this insider bias on Mueller’s team,” Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in his opening statement on Wednesday. He cited the “extreme bias” shown in the text messages between Strzok and Page; Mueller investigator Andrew Weissmann’s “awe” of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates for defying President Trump; and Mueller investigator Jeannie Rhee’s representation of the Clinton Foundation. He also cited the case of another DOJ official demoted amid scrutiny of his contacts with the firm behind the anti-Trump dossier.

“Aren’t DOJ attorneys advised to avoid even the ‘appearance of impropriety’?” Goodlatte asked, calling the “potential bias” of certain career Justice Department officials and lawyers on Mueller’s team “deeply troubling.” “DOJ investigations must not be tainted by individuals imposing their own political prejudices.”

Rosenstein told lawmakers that he has “discussed this with Robert Mueller.”

“It’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions,” Rosenstein said. “I believe Director Mueller understands that, and recognizes people have political views but that they don’t let it [affect their work.]”

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, pushed back, calling the appearance “sad.”

“Rather than wearing stripes like a referee, the Mueller team overwhelmingly ought to be attired with Democratic donkeys or Hillary t-shirts, not shirts that say ‘Make America Great Again,’ because I think the American people deserve more than the very biased team they have under Mueller,” Chabot said. “It’s really sad.”

But Rosenstein defended Mueller’s investigation, stressing he has “oversight authority” over Mueller.

“I know what he’s doing,” Rosenstein said of Mueller’s investigative actions. “He consults with me about their investigation, within and without the scope.”

FUSION GPS ADMITS DOJ OFFICIAL’S WIFE NELLIE OHR HIRED TO PROBE TRUMP 

When pressed over whether Mueller has attempted to “expand” the original scope of his investigation, Rosenstein said that he had given his “permission” to Mueller to investigate what he requests if it was necessary, noting that the special counsel team “does have authority” to investigate “obstruction.”

“If I thought he was doing something inappropriate, I would take action,” Rosenstein said.

In terms of any potential “impropriety” in Mueller’s office, cited by multiple committee Republicans, Rosenstein said he was not aware.

“I am not aware of any impropriety. Special Counsel is subject to oversight by the Department of Justice and I’m not aware of any violations of those rules,” Rosenstein said. “Appearance is, to some extent, in the eye of the beholder. We apply the department’s rules and regulations, and career ethics attorneys provide us counsel on that.”

Rosenstein underscored that he, Mueller and FBI Director Chris Wray are “accountable” and will ensure “no bias” in the special counsel’s findings.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Contains video:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/13/rosenstein-stands-by-mueller-probe-as-republicans-fume-over-insider-bias.html

FBI Agent Removed From Russia Probe Called Trump an “Idiot” — “Loathsome human”

December 13, 2017
 Updated on 
A pedestrian walks past FBI headquarters in Washington on May 11, 2017.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Washington (AP) — Two FBI officials who would later be assigned to the special counsel’s investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign described him with insults like “idiot” and “loathsome human” in a series of text messages last year, according to copies of the messages released Tuesday.

One of the officials said in an election night text that the prospect of a Trump victory was “terrifying.”

Peter Strzok, a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent, was removed over the summer from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team following the discovery of text messages exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was also detailed this year to the group of agents and prosecutors investigating potential coordination between Russia and Trump’s Republican campaign.

Hundreds of the messages, which surfaced in a Justice Department inspector general investigation of the FBI’s inquiry into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, were being provided to congressional committees, which had requested copies, and were reviewed by The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

The existence of the text messages, disclosed in news reports earlier this month, provided a line of attack for Trump, who used the revelation to disparage FBI leadership as politically tainted. Republicans have also seized on the exchange of texts between two officials who worked for Mueller to suggest that the team is biased against Trump and its conclusions can’t be trusted.

The issue is likely to be a focus of a congressional hearing Wednesday involving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May and oversees his team’s work.

A spokesman for Mueller has said Strzok was removed from the Mueller team as soon as the allegations were brought to the office’s attention, and that Page had already concluded her detail by that time anyway and returned to the FBI. Strzok has been reassigned within the FBI.

Working telephone numbers for Strzok and Page could not immediately be found.

Strzok had been deeply involved in the Clinton inquiry and was in the room when she was interviewed by the FBI. He later helped investigate whether the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The texts seen by the AP began in the summer of 2015, soon after the FBI launched its email server investigation, and continued over the next year and a half as the presidential race was in full swing and as Trump and Clinton were looking to defeat their primary challengers and head toward the general election.

The messages — 375 were released Tuesday evening — cover a broad range of political topics and include an exchange of news articles about the race, often alongside their own commentaries.

There are some derogatory comments about Democratic officials, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and former Attorney General Eric Holder, but some of the harshest comments are reserved for Trump.

In a March 4, 2016, back-and-forth provided to Congress, Page refers to Trump as a “loathsome human” and Strzok responds, “Yet he may win.” After Strzok asks whether she thinks Trump would be a worse president than fellow Republican Ted Cruz, Page says, “Yes, I think so.”

The two then use words like “idiot” and “awful” to characterize Trump, with Strzok saying, “America will get what the voting public deserves.”

In another exchange, on Oct. 18, 2016, Strzok writes to Page and says: “I am riled up. Trump is an (expletive) idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer. I CAN’T PULL AWAY. WHAT THE (expletive) HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY??!?!”

Weeks later, on election day, as it seemed to become clearer that Trump could defeat Clinton, he says, “OMG THIS IS (expletive) TERRIFYING: A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible…”

Page replies, “Yeah, that’s not good.”

In August 2016, Strzok responded to a New York Times story that carried the headline of “Donald Trump is Making America Meaner” by saying, “I am worried about what Trump is encouraging in our behavior.”

But he also adds, “I’m worried about what happens if HRC is elected,” using the initials for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-13/fbi-agent-removed-from-russia-probe-called-trump-an-idiot

Trump’s Allies Urge Harder Line as Mueller Probe Heats Up

December 8, 2017

President’s legal team had predicted investigation would clear Trump by year’s end

Jay Sekulow, in a file photo from October 2015, is a member of President Trump’s legal team. Some Trump supporters are urging a shake-up of the president’s legal advisers.
Jay Sekulow, in a file photo from October 2015, is a member of President Trump’s legal team. Some Trump supporters are urging a shake-up of the president’s legal advisers. PHOTO: STEVE HELBER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Russia investigation that Donald Trump’s legal team predicted would clear the president by year’s end looks to stretch into 2018, prompting his supporters to press for more hard-edge tactics that portray Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s operation as politically motivated.

The calls for a more aggressive approach have intensified amid disclosures that a senior agent on Mr. Mueller’s team, Peter Strzok, sent text messages that were allegedly critical of Mr. Trump during the 2016 election. Republicans also point to Andrew Weissmann, a Mueller deputy who applauded the department’s decision not to defend the initial White House travel ban on people from majority Muslim nations, as evidence of bias on the special counsel team.

The president’s legal team has largely stayed quiet on the issue. But with Mr. Mueller’s investigation appearing to edge closer to Mr. Trump’s family and inner circle, the president is being urged to drop the mostly cooperative approach taken to date.

“The president’s lawyers are sleepwalking their client into the abyss,” said Roger Stone, an adviser to the president’s 2016 campaign. “They are entirely unrealistic about the enmity toward the president from the political establishment and the established order.” FBI and congressional investigators have been examining his dealings with WikiLeaks as part of the Russia probe.

Jay Sekulow, a member of the president’s personal legal team, said: “We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made. We remain confident with regard to the outcome.”

Defenders of Mr. Mueller, who is a Republican, say he is conducting an apolitical investigation into serious allegations of wrongdoing.

Federal law prohibits the Justice Department—which includes the special counsel’s office—from using political or ideological affiliations to assess applicants for career positions in the agency. Employees are also allowed to express opinions on political subjects privately and publicly, as long as they aren’t in concert with a political party or candidate for office.

Some of the president’s associates say they want the White House to set up a classic “war room” to respond to the probe, hire attorneys more inclined to challenge Mr. Mueller or to spotlight what they see as an anti-Trump animus on the part of the special counsel.

Mr. Mueller is investigating allegations of Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. Mr. Trump has said his team did nothing wrong, and Russia has denied meddling in the election.

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, Republicans focused on Mr. Strzok and Mr. Weissmann, who sent an email to former acting attorney general Sally Yates the night she was fired applauding her decision to instruct Justice Department lawyers not to defend Mr. Trump’s initial travel ban.

“I am so proud,” Mr. Weissmann wrote in the subject line of an email, which was released by the conservative group Judicial Watch. Mr. Weissmann also attended Hillary Clinton’s election-night party at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, according to people familiar with his attendance.

Related Video

WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains what have we learned after Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled his first two big actions in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Photo: Getty

At the time, Mr. Weissmann was running the Justice Department’s fraud section, which is a senior career post within the agency. In his current role, Mr. Weissmann has been leading the case against Paul Manafort , the former Trump campaign chairman, and Rick Gates, a campaign aide. Both men have been indicted on lobbying and financial crimes, charges they deny and which aren’t related to the Trump campaign.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on behalf of Mr. Weissmann.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R., Ohio), a judiciary committee member, called the “depths of this anti-Trump bias” on the team “absolutely shocking.”

As U.S. sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election move forward, here’s a look at various contacts between President Trump’s associates and Russians. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday explains why each contact is significant. Photo: Getty

Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist who continues to occasionally advise the president, has been critical of Mr. Trump’s legal team, and a person close to Mr. Bannon said he expects the former strategist to continue “pointing out the inadequacies” in the president’s legal strategy. Mr. Bannon wasn’t available for comment.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment. Democrats characterized the bias allegations as a way to discredit a legitimate investigation.

“I predict that these attacks on the FBI will grow louder and more brazen as the special counsel does his work, and the walls close in around the president, and evidence of his obstruction and other misdeeds becomes more apparent,” said Jerrold Nadler of New York, the House committee’s top Democrat.

Mr. Mueller, a Republican, appears to be mindful of potential conflicts or appearances of conflicts in his investigation.

He removed Mr. Strzok “immediately upon learning of the allegations,” according to special counsel spokesman Peter Carr. Still, congressional Republicans said it was months after Mr. Strzok’s reassignment that federal officials disclosed the reasons why it happened. Mr. Strzok couldn’t be reached for comment.

The special counsel team also was interested in hiring another prosecutor from the fraud section, according to people familiar with the matter, but didn’t proceed because the prosecutor’s spouse works for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. That panel is conducting its own Russia investigation.

When then-President Bill Clinton faced off against an independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, in the 1990s, his allies worked to discredit Mr. Starr and paint him as a partisan—an approach that some of Mr. Trump’s confidants said they would like to emulate.

Suggestions that Mr. Trump shake up his legal team also follow what critics see as a series of missteps over recent months. A tweet sent from the president’s account, which lawyer John Dowd said he wrote, appeared to overstate what the president knew about his former national security adviser’s interactions with the FBI.  That former aide, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty this month to lying to federal agents. Two of his lawyers, Mr. Dowd and Ty Cobb, sat at a popular Washington steakhouse in September and talked openly about the case with a reporter in earshot.

Asked earlier this year whether the president was happy with his legal team amid criticism from outside advisers, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “I’m not sure how he couldn’t [be].”

While Trump lawyers say they have at times clashed among themselves, including over whether to assert executive privilege on certain documents, their general consensus has been that cooperation would help bring the investigation to a rapid close.

Mr. Cobb, who initially said the probe would wrap up by year’s end if not sooner, stands by his assessment that it’s moving at a reasonable clip. “I don’t see this dragging out,” said he in a recent interview. Mr. Mueller’s team is “committed to trying to help the country and get this done quickly,” and he added, “I commend them for that. And we’re certainly determined to do it.”

Write to Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas@wsj.com, Aruna Viswanatha at Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com and Erica Orden at erica.orden@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-allies-urge-harder-line-as-mueller-probe-drags-on-1512748299