In the wake of Thursday’s report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the House Judiciary Committee announced in a tweet that they want FBI Agent Peter Strzok to appear before Congress to explain potential biases which ought to have led to his recusal.
The report contained more text messages from Strzok and his alleged lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, including what might have been the most damning exchange yet.
In it, Page texted Strzok asking, “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok replied ominously.
Strzok, in case you needed to be reminded, was in charge of the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation, including a short stint as the top investigator on Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation before his text messages came to light.
Even Vox was forced to admit that “Strzok’s text was wildly inappropriate.” If Vox is saying that, just imagine what more balanced people might think about it.
That could earn Strzok a seat before the House Judiciary Committee in relatively short order, if a tweet posted on their account is any indication.
The failure to disclose and produce these messages to Congress continues a pattern of non-cooperation and interference with our joint investigation. The House Judiciary Committee intends to issue a subpoena to Peter Strzok to compel his testimony before the Committees. pic.twitter.com/7vM68ZmSLc
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) June 14, 2018
The tweet features a video showing the text message exchange, along with a message that no doubt had Strzok reaching for the alprazolam.
“The failure to disclose and produce these messages to Congress continues a pattern of non-cooperation and interference with our joint investigation,” the tweet read.
“The House Judiciary Committee intends to issue a subpoena to Peter Strzok to compel his testimony before the Committees.”
Well, that can only end well. I thought we’d pretty much seen the worst of the most famous correspondence between alleged lovebirds since Tristan and Isolde, but, nope. The fact that this text existed, was known to exist and was not disclosed to either Congress or the public is demonstrative of why nobody with a modicum of common sense believes that the DOJ can realistically be expected to handle this internally.
The implications of that last part could go far beyond Strzok and his idiot text. Keep in mind that the DOJ wants us to trust them with their refusal to hand over information about their informants in the Trump-Russia investigation, including several which make it seem that they were spying on the Trump campaign. There are also reports that they violated their own internal protocols in the Trump investigation, particularly with handling sources.
If Congress has finally decided they’ve had enough of politely but firmly asking the DOJ to cooperate, that could have serious consequences toward how the case is approached in the future. And, from the sample size we saw Thursday, polite but firm has probably been pitched out a third-floor window at the Rayburn House Office Building.
GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, head of the House Oversight Committee, said he was “alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s finding of numerous failures by DOJ and FBI” in the report, according to Fox News.
Gowdy also noted that “the treatment afforded to former Secretary Clinton and other potential subjects and targets was starkly different from the FBI’s investigation into Trump campaign officials.”
Democrats, meanwhile, remembered why they didn’t like James Comey before they liked James Comey again, again.
“This report makes clear that FBI Director Comey and FBI personnel failed to follow the rules, and in doing so, hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and helped Donald Trump’s,” Democrat Senate Minority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said.
Sen. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and general media gadabout, gave the usual “mistakes were made” explication for the report.
“Those errors of judgment were not made owing to political bias, but nonetheless they were serious mistakes and those mistakes had the effect of helping the Trump campaign,” Schiff said, apparently not having read the report. “None of this reflects on the Special Counsel’s work and we are determined to make sure that work goes on unimpeded.”
This seemed to be the party line for everyone on Capitol Hill Thursday: the report showed mistakes which clearly helped the candidate I wasn’t supporting, and it’s all James Comey’s fault. At least the last part is right, and I suspect the Republicans are closer than the Democrats when it comes to whether one campaign or the other was actually hurt.
I haven’t read the report in its entirety, but my general takeaway has been that the FBI didn’t substantively hurt either candidate, although they certainly intended to hurt Trump, or at least put their thumb on the scales in Hillary’s direction. That could change, although I doubt I’ll locate the rich body of evidence Messrs. Durbin and Schiff seem to have found, which concluded that the FBI acted improperly to ensure a Trump administration.
That being said, I get the general idea that if the IG report isn’t the beginning of the end of the myth of the unbiased FBI, it is at least the end of the beginning. The next step is to start doing serious interviews — starting with the Bureau’s most famous texter.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.