Integrity is a very big word in politics, and Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation has a very big integrity problem.It is a word that has been used frequently, over the past two days. Mueller is revered for his years of public and military service, his supposed patriotism and, yes, his integrity. That reverence may, or may, be deserved, but there can be no denying that Mueller either deliberately loaded his investigative team with political partisans or he entirely lacked prudence and judgment in his choices.
The integrity problem has now spread well beyond Mueller’s so-called ‘dream team’ of attorneys and investigators. One senior Department of Justice (DOJ)official and two members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are now at the center of allegations concerning whether their personal political loyalties compromised their work for the special counsel.
The Many Moving Parts
The sprawling, multi-faceted probe into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and supposed collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials has many moving parts. Intelligence committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives are conducting investigations independent of Mueller’s investigation. The FBI had investigated the same matter for more than a year.
The House Judiciary Committee, by virtue of its DOJ oversight duties, is also involved. The combined efforts of these investigative bodies have yielded a broad range of questions about collusion. Few of those questions, however, are concerned with President Trump’s alleged connections to Russian officials. Instead, they pertain to a far more serious issue.
The House Intelligence Committee is now also investigating the DOJ and the FBI over several issues, including improperly obtaining warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the ‘unmasking’ of Trump associates supposedly swept up in surveillance operations.
FBI Plays Favorites
What appears to be emerging is an underlying agenda which should concern and terrify every American who cherishes the constitutional republican system of government. Senior, unelected government officials, it now seems, may have steered one FBI investigation away from a presidential candidate. At least one of those officials then took a prominent role in an investigation of the opposing candidate.
The official in question is, of course, FBI counterintelligence investigator Peter Strzok. It was Strzok’s influence over the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal that seems to have led then FBI Director James Comey to declare Clinton guilty of “extreme carelessness” rather than “gross negligence.” That second phrase may well have triggered an indictment of the former Democratic presidential candidate. Strzok was one of those who interviewed Clinton and at least two of her closest campaign associates.
The Stench of Conspiracy
New revelations show that Comey did, indeed, coordinate with other officials, regarding the statement he drafted to exonerate Clinton before all the witnesses in the investigation had been interviewed. Comey had previously stated that he did not do so. The language in the statement was watered down to minimize the seriousness of Clinton’s secretive email practices. Worse still, Clinton aides struck a deal with the State Department which allowed them to physically remove evidence from the department’s offices.
Strzok was later assigned to the special counsel and was reassigned to the FBI’s human resources department during the summer. At the time, it wasn’t news but now the reason for his removal has been revealed. Text messages, exchanged between Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, with whom he was reported to be having an extramarital affair, revealed a strong anti-Trump and pro-Clinton bias. “Strong” is hardly sufficient to describe it. The FBI investigator clearly despises the president and every American who voted for him. Strzok also interviewed Trump’s then National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who was later fired and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Many of the text messages in question were sent while the FBI official was working on the Clinton investigation. Page and Strzok expressed their concerns that Trump could win, their personal disdain for him and, perhaps more seriously at that time, their apparently fervent support of Hillary Clinton.
“Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace,” Page wrote to Strzok in August 2016, referring to the prospect of Trump winning the election. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok said, in a message to Page that same month It is understood that “Andy” is Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s Deputy Director.
One of the many questions, then, is why top FBI officials were discussing the prospects and ramifications of a Trump victory in the election. What else did they discuss? What does “I’m afraid we can’t take that risk” mean? McCabe recused himself from the Clinton investigation. Clearly, Strzok should have done the same.
Only a small number of the text messages have been made public, so far. Between those messages, Strzok’s involvement in the Clinton and Flynn investigations and the FBI’s continued refusal to provide key information to Congress, the stench of conspiracy against the president is overwhelming.
Washington-based research company, Fusion GPS, also hired Russia expert Nellie Ohr to work on research into then-candidate Trump. Ohr’s husband, Michael, is a DOJ official who concealed his meetings with Fusion GPS and with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who authored the salacious ‘dossier’ on Trump. As has already been established, that dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign.
Who Will Bring Down the Deep State?
The so-called ‘Deep State’ is being exposed by the very investigation it contrived to bring down the president. The continued refusal of both the DOJ and FBI to come clean about collusion with the Clinton campaign and Fusion GPS to influence the 2016 election can no longer be ignored. Quite possibly, recent demands by some Democrats that the president resign are signs of growing panic within the opposition party that the full extent of its involvement in this emerging conspiracy will be exposed. This involvement stretches deep into the administration of former president Obama.
Watergate pales in comparison to what is now being uncovered. Is it likely that Robert Mueller will swiftly bring his investigation to a close, in the hope that no further action is taken to expose what could now become a constitutional crisis? Will Congress continue to lift the lid on this particular Pandora’s box or will it back off, for fear of cracking the entire foundation of the federal government? Will anyone involved in this obvious conspiracy ever be charged with a serious crime?
Within the next few months, the American people will discover whether their political leaders have the courage to root out deep corruption at the federal level or whether they will quietly put the lid back on this scandal and go back to business as usual, which is, largely, self-preservation.