Peter Strzok

Opinion: A Purple Heart for disgraced FBI agent Strzok? The very suggestion is an insult to the military

If medals were awarded for disgraceful, disrespectful and downright dumb statements by members of Congress, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., would surely be awarded one for his ridiculous comment Thursday to disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok. Strzok was questioned by members of two House committees about the clear contempt and hatred for presidential candidate Donald Trump he expressed in numerous text messages with his then-lover and FBI attorney Lisa Page during the 2016 presidential campaign. Committee Republicans quite understandably wanted to know if Strzok’s intense anti-Trump bias influenced his work on the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russia to help elect Trump, or influenced his work on the investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal. These are surely legitimate questions, since Special Counsel Robert Mueller is relying on the work of FBI investigators in his Russia probe. But Cohen joined other Democrats on the committees in leaping to Strzok’s defense and showering him with praise like he was some great hero, while bemoaning the attacks on him by Republicans. And then Cohen made his stunning and absurd comment about the questioning Strzok was undergoing. “If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would,” Cohen said to Strzok. “This has been an attack on you and a way to attack Mr. Mueller and the investigation that is to get at Russian collusion involved in our election.” Quite a statement. The Purple Heart is awarded to members of our armed forces wounded in combat while fighting to keep all of us safe. It was established by Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War and represents the respect we offer as a nation for that sacrifice. To demean this award by using it for any other purpose is wrong. To do so in support of a man who is testifying because he abused the trust of the American people and appears to have used his position at the FBI against a political candidate he opposed is obscene. Cohen received a torrent of criticism for his abhorrent comment – as he should have. The Nashville Tennessean newspaper reported: “A group of veterans in Memphis has slammed Cohen’s comment Thursday as an ‘insult to every service member’ and are demanding the Memphis Democrat apologize for his ‘disrespectful’ words.” That and other criticism of Cohen in Tennessee media prompted him to beat a hasty retreat: “I regret mentioning the Purple Heart medal at yesterday’s hearing. My intent was to speak metaphorically to make a broader point about attacks against the FBI and Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into a Russian attack on our country,” Cohen said Friday. “I have nothing but the highest respect for members of the Armed Forces, especially those who have been awarded Purple Hearts, as well as the hard working men and women at the FBI. We are safe because of their service and sacrifice,” Cohen said. Too bad that Rep. Cohen, who has zero personal experience with the military, didn’t think first before making his comment to Strzok a day earlier. The Purple Heart is an exceptionally well-known award. Any decent person should have known to steer clear of mentioning it unless referring respectfully to recipients of the medal. To compare the suffering of a heroic member of our military wounded in combat to the experience of Strzok sitting at a table and underdoing questioning by elected officials for his misconduct is unbelievably insulting. As an Army Special Forces veteran – and as the son of a soldier who fought in the Vietnam War – I know firsthand that there is near zero tolerance among the military community and most patriotic Americans for any abuse of military awards, symbols or service. While Cohen went further than any of his colleagues in praising Strzok, plenty of his fellow Democrats joined in the lovefest for Strzok. For example, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said we should be “honoring” Strzok. Far from showing any remorse for personally destroying the FBI’s reputation for trustworthiness and impartiality, Strzok is acting as if he is beyond judgment. At the House hearing he absurdly claimed that he was not biased against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton, and took no improper action in his FBI investigations – despite the many biased texts he wrote. The voluminous record of hate-filled anti-Trump texts Strzok sent his partner in adultery, Lisa Page, tell another tale. They describe a rogue senior FBI official so blinded by partisan political rancor that he has been suspended from his job and may face criminal charges in the future. As for Rep. Cohen, if a Congressional Medal for Stupidity is ever created, he’s already earned it.

Agreed!!  And well said, Jim.  Former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier Jim Hanson is the author of that op/ed.  Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) needs to simply apologize for his offensive, and breathtakingly stupid comment….without the political disclaimers and equivocating he did the first time.  That apology should first and foremost go to those who have actually received the Purple Heart, and then to those who have served in combat.   Then, whoever faces him in November should use his spectacular blunder to beat him.  The good people in his Tennessee congressional district have an opportunity in November to fire him.

 

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 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. 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. 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. 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.

No kidding!!  To read the rest of this spot-on legal op/ed by former defense attorney, and current Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, click on the text above.  Excellent!!

French: The Incredible Tale of a Reckless, Partisan FBI Agent and Our Partisan Bureaucracy

If the story hadn’t been verified by virtually every mainstream-media outlet in the country, you’d think it came straight from conspiratorial fever dreams of the alt-right. Yesterday, news broke that Robert Mueller had months ago asked a senior FBI agent to step down from his role investigating the Trump administration. This prince of a man was caught in an extramarital affair with an FBI lawyer. The affair itself was problematic, but so was the fact that the two were found to have exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Hillary Clinton text messages. Here’s where the story gets downright bizarre. This agent, Peter Strzok, also worked with FBI director James Comey on the Clinton email investigation. In fact, he was so deeply involved in the Clinton investigation that he is said to have interviewed Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and to have been present when the FBI interviewed Clinton. According to CNN, he was part of the team responsible for altering the FBI’s conclusion that Clinton was “grossly negligent” in handling classified emails (a finding that could have triggered criminal liability) to “extremely careless” — a determination that allowed her to escape prosecution entirely. After the Clinton investigation concluded, Strzok signed the documents opening the investigation into Russian election interference and actually helped interview former national-security adviser Michael Flynn. In other words, it looks like a low-integrity, reckless, biased bureaucrat has played an important role in two of the most important and politically charged criminal investigations of the new century. Yes, it’s good that Mueller removed Strzok when he discovered the text messages. No, Strzok is not solely responsible for the conclusions reached in either investigation. But his mere presence hurts public confidence in the FBI, and it does so in a way that further illustrates a persistent and enduring national problem: America’s permanent bureaucracy is unacceptably partisan. Remember President Obama’s second term, when the IRS Tea Party–targeting scandal erupted? The bureaucrat at the fulcrum of the scandal, Lois Lerner, was unabashedly partisan, launching a comprehensive and unconstitutional inquiry into conservative groups even as she was “joking” that “she wanted to work for the pro-Obama group Organizing for America.” It’s hard to overstate the effect of the IRS scandal on conservative confidence in the federal government. Yes, there were some progressive groups that faced scrutiny, but the sheer scale of the attack on conservative groups was unprecedented. The IRS sought confidential donor information, passwords, and information about the political activities even of family members of those involved with some scrutinized groups. I remember. I represented dozens of these organizations. When it came time to launch a criminal investigation of the IRS, the Obama Department of Justice put an Obama donor in charge of the probe. The decision to offer her the job was inexcusable, as was her decision to accept. At a time when half the country was losing confidence in the integrity of its public servants, the Obama administration raised its hand and extended a big middle finger. While there are certainly some biased, partisan conservatives in the federal bureaucracy, the ideological imbalance in the civil service is striking. It’s not quite at university-faculty levels, but it’s getting close. For example, in the 2016 election cycle, Hillary Clinton received an astounding 95 percent of all federal-employee donations. The danger here isn’t just the kind of naked display of partisan bias that we saw in the Obama IRS. It’s also the emergence of groupthink. As we know from other liberal-dominated enclaves, such as academia and the mainstream media, ideological uniformity can lead to a startling degree of ignorance and incompetence. It’s hard to govern (or educate, or report on) an entire country when you aren’t sufficiently exposed to contrary perspectives and experiences.

Agreed…and well said, David.  Attorney, and Army Reserve officer (Major), David French is responsible for that piece.  David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.