SAYS STRZOK, COMEY, MCCABE “TOOK ORDERS” FROM UNNAMED INDIVIDUAL
by Sharon Rondeau
Trump has long criticized the investigation Mueller assumed after FBI Director James Comey was terminated in May of last year. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein chose Mueller to lead the probe even though Mueller and Comey are former colleagues and Mueller interviewed with Trump for Comey’s position the day before.
Rosenstein signed the memo justifying Comey’s termination, which was ultimately approved by Trump. The mainstream media has reported that Mueller is investigating any “obstruction of justice” on Trump’s part for his having fired Comey.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, has produced two reports this year on the conduct of FBI and DOJ officials in the lead-up to the election involving leaks to the media and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, respectively.
A third report from Horowitz is expected in the coming weeks focusing on Comey’s release of at least one memo, but possibly more, to a “friend” who shared the contents, which may have contained classified information, with a reporter from The New York Times.
Horowitz’s first report found that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied under oath to investigators about leaking sensitive information to the media. McCabe’s attorney has denied the accusation, although it prompted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to terminate McCabe in mid-March.
The second report, released June 14, chastised Comey for giving a solo, unapproved press conference on July 5, 2016 contending that although Clinton was “extremely careless” with her handling of classified information by her use of a private server, her actions did not rise to the level of a recommendation to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.
In that report, Horowitz noted that then-counterintelligence FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and his then-cohort, former FBI Special Counsel to the Deputy Director Lisa Page, demonstrated clear bias against Trump in the course of their work on the Clinton investigation and immediately afterward, on the Trump “collusion” probe (page 4 of report).
Strzok was a key figure in both assignments, having reportedly interviewed Clinton on July 2, 2016, three days before Comey gave his press conference exonerating her.
The opening of the “Russia” investigation is said to have been July 31, 2016. Within days of that date, Strzok texted Page that a trip he was making to the UK on the Trump probe “matters.” Other texts exchanged between the two indicate that they were opposed to the prospect of Trump’s winning in November, with Strzok going as far as to say, “We’ll stop him.”
At some point last summer, Horowitz found some of the politically-charged text between Strzok and Page and informed Mueller, who removed Strzok from the Trump-Russia investigation. Strzok was then relegated to the FBI’s Human Resources Department.
Very recently, he was escorted out of the FBI and his security clearance revoked, according to reports.
On Wednesday, Strzok was deposed for approximately 11 hours by the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors, where he is said to have declined to answer a significant number of questions by recommendation of FBI counsel. Afterward, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who was in the room, said that “new information” has come to light that was not included in Horowitz’s June 14 report.
The Hill reported that Strzok “appeared voluntarily,” with a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee reportedly “tabled,” but the committee stated otherwise on its website. On Wednesday Fox News reported that “the subpoena was no longer valid because Strzok voluntarily agreed to appear for the interview.”
In his first tweet of the series on Thursday morning, Trump repeated his oft-made claim that the Mueller probe is a “rigged” “witch hunt.” However, Trump followed that with, referring to Strzok, “he took his orders from Comey and McCabe and they took their orders from you know who. Mueller/Comey best friends!” [sic]
In the following two tweets, Trump did not clarify to whom “you know who” refers. In 2016, McCabe reported to Comey, who would have reported to then-deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates. Loretta Lynch, also faulted in Horowitz’s recent report, was then Attorney General.
He continued to refer to Clinton as “Crooked Hillary” and included “the DNC” in his thought.
In the past, Trump has asked why the DNC server, said to have been breached by Russian operatives in 2016, when stolen emails were transferred to WikiLeaks and then made public, was never examined by the FBI to determine the intruder(s).
A private company, Crowdstrike, commissioned to conduct a forensic analysis of the server, reported that Russian-planted viruses were responsible.
Trump did not clarify what “all the lies” signifies. He has previously suggested that the “13 angry Democrats” working with Mueller have undisclosed conflicts of interest.