Ex-CIA Director John Brennan has complained about the treatment that FBI agent Peter Strzok received from GOP House leaders, Reps. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, during a hearing conducted on Thursday by the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.
The sharp exchanges over Strzok’s controversial text messages with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page were too much for Brennan, who called the exchanges "a mockery of the oversight function and responsibility that is supposed to be a bipartisan effort to try to make sure we keep this country strong and safe."
Brennan expressed particular concern over the impact of what he called the "grandstanding and politicking" in Congress "at the expense of our national security."
Strzok himself issued a broadside against the congressional hearing during his opening statement. He characterized the hearing as “just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
Contrary to the remonstrances of Strzok, Brennan, and Strzok’s other defenders in Congress and the media, a high-level FBI agent’s repeated demonstration of bias and personal animus against a candidate for president who is a potential target of the investigation the agent is overseeing is too important for Congress or the American people to brush aside. Politically weaponizing the country’s preeminent law enforcement and counter-intelligence agency for or against a particular candidate for the highest office in the land erodes the public’s trust in our own institutions. Moreover, a thorough investigation of the actions and motivations of the lead FBI investigator involved in both the Hillary Clinton email probe and Russian election interference probe in no way distracts from the continuing thorough investigation of outside interference in the U.S. presidential election by Russia, whether with or without the alleged collusion of the Trump administration.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz issued a 500+ page report last month entitled “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election.”
It shined a light on the mishandling at top levels of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation of the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as Secretary of State under former President Obama. Such mishandling included violations of Department of Justice standards and FBI protocols. Aside from former FBI Director James Comey, Strzok came under heavy criticism for his actions casting “a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.”
The report referenced a text message on August 8, 2016, in which Strzok reassured Page that she need not worry about Donald Trump becoming president. Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok.
“No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.
Inspector General Horowitz wrote that this exchange was “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.” The inspector general questioned whether Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia collusion investigation over following up on the Clinton email-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.
During his congressional testimony on Thursday, Strzok offered various excuses regarding the “We’ll stop it” text message. The excuses ranged from a claim that he did not recall writing the text, that if he did write the text he did so late at night, and that the reference in the text to “We’ll” meant the American people, not the FBI. He also claimed to be free of any bias that affected the performance of his official duties.
Horowitz begged to differ. When confronted at the hearing with the findings of bias in Horowitz’s report and Horowitz’s own subsequent congressional testimony, Strzok took issue with what Horowitz had concluded and denied that there was any evidence that his personal political views affected his integrity and objectivity in performing his duties. To quote Shakespeare, Strzok “doth protest too much.”
Strzok arguably violated 18 U.S.C. § 595, enacted as part of the original 1939 Hatch Act, prohibiting any public officer or employee, in connection with an activity financed wholly or in part by the United States, from using his or her official authority to interfere with or affect the nomination or election of a candidate for federal office including the president of the United States. His attempt to defend his conduct under the mantle of the exercise of free speech and patriotism, his denials of bias in the face of the obvious, and his expressions of personal regret for the tone of his texts should not deter further thorough investigations into his actions.
Joseph A. Klein is a featured author for FrontPage Magazine and the United Nations correspondent for Canada Free Press. He has also authored the books "Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom" and "Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam." Klein, a Harvard Law school alumnus and practicing attorney, has been a guest on many radio shows as a commentator and has appeared on several TV shows including "Fox & Friends." For more of this reports — Click Here Now.
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