IS THERE ANY “THERE” THERE?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 13, 2018) — At approximately 12:05 PM EDT on Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted a response to the breaking news that former FBI Counterintelligence Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok has been terminated.
Strzok testified to members of Congress both privately and in public as to his conduct in 2016 involving both the Hillary Clinton private email server investigation and the counterintelligence operation launched, apparently enthusiastically by Strzok, into the Trump campaign for alleged “collusion” with Russia.
The longtime FBI agent came under scrutiny in May of last year when the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, discovered politically-charged text messages between Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page during the course of both investigations in which both played a role.
Strzok had told Page that in the event Trump won the 2016 presidential election, an “insurance policy” should be in place. Strzok has not fully explained to everyone’s satisfaction what he meant by that statement.
In one message to Page, Strzok indicated that it seemed to him that in regard to Trump-Russia collusion, there was “no big ‘there’ there.” However, while serving on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to carry on the FBI counterintelligence operation, Strzok reportedly asked for and was granted the retention of his declassification authority and other privileges he was afforded through his position at the FBI.
Page resigned from the agency in early May and testified to members of two congressional committees on July 13 and 16. According to some individuals who were in the room, Page’s testimony was more credible than Strzok’s.
Both now-former FBI employees were referred to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) by Horowitz, along with three other FBI figures who reportedly exchanged politically-laden communications indicating a bias against Trump.
Trump’s reaction was that “The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped?” He added that “I just fight back” against what he says is a “total Hoax.”
After more than two years, neither the FBI nor Mueller’s team of prosecutors has announced any finding of improper communications or “collusion” between Trump aides and the Kremlin. A federal grand jury, however, indicted a total of 13 Russian individuals and three Russian-owned alleged entities for reportedly interfering in the 2016 election.
On Monday morning, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that he believes Mueller will be concluding the probe in early September, particularly given that the midterm congressional elections will then be 60 days away. As he has previously, Giuliani indicated that he believes an investigation of the investigators should be launched.
Approximately five minutes after his first tweet on the topic, Trump tweeted:
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.