Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials was tainted, from the start, by suspicions of an anti-Trump, pro-Clinton bias. Those suspicions appear even more credible with the news that two respected FBI officials assigned to work for Mueller exchanged text messages which “expressed anti-Trump political views,” according to a New York Times report published Saturday.
Peter Strzok, who also worked on the FBI investigation into the Clinton email scandal, left Mueller’s team in August and went to work for the Bureau’s human resources division. Although his departure was reported in August, first by ABC News, the reason behind the reassignment was not made public. Strzok was known as a counterintelligence specialist.
Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, also left the special counsel team sometime after Strzok’s removal. “Lisa Page completed her brief detail and had returned to the FBI weeks before our office was aware of the allegations,” A spokesman for Mueller said Saturday. Page and Strzok exchanged the text messages in 2016, at the same time, the latter was working on the Clinton investigation. The messages are said to have referred to presidential debates and other political events that took place during the presidential campaign.
Special Counsel Has An Integrity Problem
The communications were discovered during the inspector general’s probe into how the FBI handled the Clinton investigation. According to a report in USA Today, the inspector general informed Mueller of the situation almost immediately. It is not clear why Mueller chose to remove Strzok from his own investigation at that time, but not Page. If the latter was kept on to complete her work, regardless of the compromising messages, why was Strzok so quickly reassigned?
According to the Washington Post, the paper that first broke the story, Strzok and Page were also having an extramarital affair. The Justice Department is now looking into the communications to determine whether the apparent political bias compromised the integrity of either the Clinton or Russia investigations.
The text messages in question have not been made public. A Justice Department spokeswoman said,“we are aware of the allegation and are taking any and all appropriate steps.”
Exposing the Bias
Mueller, who is close to fired FBI Director James Comey and former Obama Attorney General, Eric Holder, has always been viewed by the Right as incapable of conducting an impartial investigation into activities involving Trump associates. Several attorneys appointed by Mueller to the special counsel team are known to have donated to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, in the past.
This latest revelation will, doubtless, renew suspicions that there is a distinct anti-Trump bias within the FBI. Additionally, it will likely lead to new demands for the special counsel investigation to be shut down. Mueller’s team appears to have a virtually unlimited mandate to investigate whoever and whatever it wants, with no clear accountability. The perception that it is little more than a team of anti-Trump attorneys and federal officials attempting to bring down the president is only further strengthened by these new revelations.