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Friday, July 13, 2018

Peter Strzok Testifies

This article first appeared in New English Review.


On Thursday, FBI agent Peter Strzok testified before the House Oversight Committee.  It was highly contentious. As a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent who has testified hundreds of times in court, I always view the testimony of law enforcement witnesses with great interest. I was greatly disappointed watching Strzok testify. ( I only watched about 30 minutes, and my description below only pertains to those I watched.) Granted, it is Strzok himself who is under fire, but I don't think he came across as professional in his demeanor. He was argumentative, at times arrogant, and unpersuasive when he testified that he never let his personal bias affect his professional actions. His own emails with Lisa Page (who is looking at contempt of Congress for refusing to show up to testify this week) say otherwise. When people who are conducting an investigation tell each other that they will stop the Trump campaign, that is troubling.  When they use FBI communications to email each other calling Trump and his supporters ugly names, that is troubling.

In addition, when Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) started asking about the various sources who sent essentially the same information to the FBI (the Russian dossier), Strzok said that the FBI had instructed him not to answer.  This is another troubling facet of this Russian collusion mess.

Remember that it was the Russian dossier that was an instrumental piece of information (though still unverified and largely discredited) that the FBI used to obtain a FISA warrant to wiretap Carter Page, a man who to this date has not been charged with anything. Andrew McCabe himself told Congress that without the Russian dossier, there would have been no FISA warrant. This, of course, is the infamous dossier that included juicy stuff like Trump paying Russian hookers in a Moscow hotel room to urinate on the bed that Obama had previously slept in. We now know that this dossier was bought and paid for largely by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. It came from Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent. Now we are learning that the same information came to the FBI from liberal activist David Corn, the liberal purveyor of Mother Jones blog, staffers for John McCain, and Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the company contracted by the Clinton campaign/DNC, and which hired Steele. John Solomon, writing for The Hill, explains why this is troubling.

In addition, if an investigator (especially one trying to get a FISA warrant) considered these multiple sources as corroboration, that would be a terrible mistake. In this case, everything ultimately originated from the same source, Christopher Steele, a man who was terminated by the FBI as a source because he had been dealing with the press at the same time he was providing information to the FBI.

Garbage in-garbage out.

So that was the backdrop to Strzok's fireworks-filled testimony  Thursday. Predictably, the Democrats tried to shield Strzok. Eleanor Holmes Norton, representing Washington DC, filled up her time asking Stzrok incomprehensible softballs that were so slow even he couldn't understand. William Clay (MO) gave a speech about the Republicans being more interested in Strzok's text messages while Trump "is undermining the Western alliance...". He then went on to talk about the meeting that Donald Trump Jr had with a Russian woman who was supposed to give dirt on Hillary Clinton and then asked Strzok why that would be of concern to an intelligence agent. ( I am paraphrasing.) Both Clay and Strzok were wise enough to phrase the question and the answer in hypothetical terms.

Then there was Steve Cohen (TN), who wanted to give Strzok a medal-a purple heart no less. No hardballs there.

It amazes me how the Democrats can still beat the dead horse of the Russian collusion issue-which is under investigation by Mueller, but has revealed nothing to indicate that Trump and/or his campaign colluded with the Russians, while ignoring the evidence right in front of them that FBI higher-ups tried to sabotage one presidential campaign while whitewashing the crimes of the other candidate (Hillary Clinton).

But that's just politics, I guess..




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