Michael Goodwin: Peter Strzok's arrogance is the product of a corrupt FBI

Watching FBI agent Peter Strzok battle with Congress, my initial reaction was pure anger. His repeated, arrogant insistence that he had done nothing wrong despite tons of evidence to the contrary convinced me he deserved immediate firing — if not the firing squad.

Gradually, though, anger gave way to amazement as Strzok grew increasingly combative and condescending. Given his predicament, the sneering and smirking were stupid, and yet he persisted.

Who is this jerk, I wondered, and how in the hell did he get to be a big shot at the FBI? And why are taxpayers still paying for the privilege of his malignant presence on the FBI payroll?

My answers can be summarized in four names: James Comey, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray. They are chief culprits in the death of public trust in the Department of Justice.

The cause of death was murder, and it was an inside job.

Strzok, whose voluminous texts with his office lover show him to be a king of partisan bias, rose to leadership positions under former FBI director Comey — and it shows. Comey’s self-righteousness was his ultimate undoing, but not before he led the agency into a double death grip of corruption and rank partisanship.

Blinded by his own ambition, Comey brushed aside superiors, rules and maybe laws while giving Hillary Clinton a free pass and turning the screws on Donald Trump. Comey defends himself by saying he sought to protect the FBI’s independence, as if it — and he — are a fourth branch of government that is beyond accountability from the other three.

In the end, he disgraced the agency and himself, though gained consolation in the millions he made by selling his book to Trump haters.

But the FBI didn’t stink only from the head — Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, also was fired, and could be prosecuted for allegedly being dishonest with investigators about a media leak.

Strzok appears to be a chip off the Comey/McCabe block. Like them, he insists he is committed to the FBI’s high standards, but his reprehensible conduct makes a mockery of his claims.

His stated contempt for Trump and his promise to stop him from becoming president render Strzok unfit to be a dogcatcher.

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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.