Gregg Jarrett: How an FBI official with a political agenda corrupted both Mueller, Comey investigations

How is it possible that Hillary Clinton escaped criminal indictment for mishandling classified documents despite incriminating evidence that she violated the Espionage Act?

Why did Donald Trump become the target of a criminal investigation for allegedly conspiring with Russia to influence the presidential election despite no evidence that he ever did so?

The answer, it seems, comes down to one person who played a vital role in both cases: Peter Strzok, deputy director of counterintelligence at the FBI.

Strzok was exchanging politically charged texts with an FBI lawyer that denigrated Trump and lauded Clinton at the same time he was leading the bureau’s criminal investigation of Clinton.  He is also the one who changed the critical wording of then-FBI Director James Comey’s description of Clinton’s handling of classified material that resulted in no charges being brought against her.

Then, Strzok reportedly signed the document launching the 2016 investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and whether the Trump campaign played any role.  After leading the FBI’s probe into Trump, he then joined Robert Mueller’s special counsel team as an integral investigator.   

Thus, it appears that one man with a strident political agenda accomplished his twin goals of clearing Clinton and accusing Trump, evidence be damned.

And then he was caught.

The Strzok Bust and Cover-up

The Department of Justice inspector general, Michael Horowitz, discovered the electronic texts Strzok exchanged with his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page.  The messages were so politically incendiary and so threatened the integrity of Mueller’s investigation that Strzok was quietly canned over the summer from the special counsel team, where he was a pivotal participant.

The Trump-Russia investigation is now awash in illegitimacy.

Did Mueller or anyone else notify Congress that both the Trump investigation --and the Clinton case before it-- were corrupted?  Of course not.  This was covered up.  Mueller surely knew that if the truth were revealed, it would further discredit a Trump-Russia probe that had already taken on the stench of dead fish.

The House Intelligence Committee could smell it and knew something was amiss.  It demanded answers.  But the Justice Department and the FBI refused to respond or otherwise produce relevant documents that the committee subpoenaed.  They are still stonewalling many of Congress’s valid requests and should now face contempt charges.

Importantly, all of the anti-Trump and pro-Clinton messages should be made public.  Americans should decide for themselves whether our system of justice has been compromised by unscrupulous influences.

Just how rife with political prejudice and corrupt motives is the special counsel’s investigation?

Instead of choosing prosecutors who could be neutral, fair and objective, Mueller stacked his staff with Democratic donors.  Apparently, he conducted little or no vetting of both prosecutors and investigators.  How else does one explain the presence of Strzok and Lisa Page on the investigative team?

It appears that Mueller selected people of a particular political persuasion without discerning review or scrutiny.  We were supposed to simply trust Mueller’s judgment, notwithstanding his own disqualifying conflict of interest under the special counsel statute that demanded his recusal.

The Trump-Russia investigation is now awash in illegitimacy.  Mueller and those who work for him have squandered all credibility.  It is imperative that the special counsel be dismissed, the current staff fired, and a new counsel appointed to re-evaluate the evidence objectively.

Every member of Mueller’s hand-picked staff must now be examined. The special counsel has proven he cannot be trusted with his assembled team of partisans.

Do not expect Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to make these changes.  He, too, should be removed in his capacity as Mueller’s supervisor.  As both a witness and prosecutor, Rosenstein has his own conspicuous and disabling conflict of interest.  Yet he has refused to step aside.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions is duty-bound to remove both Mueller and Rosenstein.   

Are There Other Emails?

Given what we know about the composition of the special counsel team, there may well be others who harbor a blatant political bias and have expressed their animus toward Trump in emails or texts.  The computer accounts of the entire staff need to be examined by Congress and the DOJ Inspector General.  Failing that, news organizations should file a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The examination should begin with Andrew Weissmann, who has close ties to Hui Chen, whom he hired at the Justice Department and with whom he worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.  Documents show the DOJ approved a salary for her position of $711,800 for two years of work, which is more than the attorney general earns.

Chen resigned in June of this year, stating that she could no longer work in the administration of a president who had violated the Constitution and engaged in treasonous conduct.  According to The Hill, she “posted tweets or retweeted articles that were considered critical of Trump.”

But before her departure, Chen attended a “March for Truth” rally and proudly posted on Twitter a photograph of herself outside the White House wearing an orange “Resist” jacket.  She posted another photo of the Trump International Hotel with the words “Pay Trump Bribery Here” superimposed over the entrance.

Chen’s favored hashtag is “TrumpRussiaCoverUp,” and she has blanketed her Twitter account with virulent denunciations of the president.  Hundreds of them. 

Since Chen made little secret of her views while at Justice, it is reasonable to ask whether she expressed them to Weissmann, the person to whom she reported.  If so, how did he respond?  Like Strzok, did Weissmann write anti-Trump messages to his friend and colleague, Hui Chen, or others?

Every member of Mueller’s hand-picked staff must now be examined.  The special counsel has proven he cannot be trusted with his assembled team of partisans.

The Sham Investigation of Clinton

It never made sense that Hillary Clinton escaped criminal prosecution for mishandling classified documents.

The Espionage Act makes it a crime to mishandle classified documents “through gross negligence” (18 USC 793-f).  With 110 emails on Clinton’s private server that were classified at the time they were sent or received, only illogical legal gymnastics driven by corruption could clear her.

Enter Strzok.  It turns out, he is the person who altered former Director Comey's early draft describing Clinton’s actions as criminal under the law.  But later, the words “grossly negligent” were crossed out and the language “extremely careless” was substituted.  Although the two terms are synonymous, the former terminology is specifically stated in the statute while the latter is not.

It appears that Strzok, and perhaps Comey, knew Clinton violated the law but subsequently resolved to conjure a way to exonerate her by editing the language so that it seemed less culpable and more innocuous.  Were these machinations driven by Strzok’s political agenda?  Did he despise Trump so much that he devised a scheme to clear Clinton so that a criminal indictment would not impede her assent to the presidency?

Strzok, Comey and others who may have been involved must be put under oath to answer these vital questions.

In the meantime, the Department of Justice must now, belatedly, reopen the Clinton email case and re-examine fairly and impartially all of the evidence to determine whether criminal charges against her should be sought.  The statute of limitations has not expired.

Sadly, the FBI is no longer the respected premier law enforcement agency in America.  People like Strzok have politicized the bureau, discredited its work and done immeasurable damage.  So, too, have Comey and Mueller. 

President Trump is right –the FBI’s “reputation is in tatters,” and the Clinton probe was “phony and dishonest.”