There are quite a few interesting tidbits in this Washington Post article so I will jump around a little and pick out my favorites.
Courtesy of WaPo:
Former FBI agent Peter Strzok alleges in a new book that investigators came to believe it was “conceivable, if unlikely” that Russia was secretly controlling President Trump after he took office — a full-fledged “Manchurian candidate” installed as America’s commander in chief.
In the book, “Compromised,” Strzok describes how the FBI had to consider “whether the man about to be inaugurated was willing to place his or Russia’s interests above those of American citizens,” and if and how agents could investigate that. Strzok opened the FBI’s 2016 investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had coordinated with the Kremlin to help his election and later was involved in investigating Trump personally. He was ultimately removed from the case over private text messages disparaging of the president.
“We certainly had evidence that this was the case: that Trump, while gleefully wreaking havoc on America’s political institutions and norms, was pulling his punches when it came to our historic adversary, Russia,” Strzok writes. “Given what we knew or had cause to suspect about Trump’s compromising behavior in the weeks, months, and years leading up to the election, moreover, it also seemed conceivable, if unlikely, that Moscow had indeed pulled off the most stunning intelligence achievement in human history: secretly controlling the president of the United States — a Manchurian candidate elected.”
Strzok does not currently believe that Trump is a Manchurian candidate. but this is what he does believe about his relationship with Russia:
“I don’t think that Trump, when he meets with Putin, receives a task list for the next quarter,” Strzok said, referencing the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “But I do think the president is compromised, that he is unable to put the interests of our nation first, that he acts from hidden motives, because there is leverage over him, held specifically by the Russians but potentially others as well.”
So even though Trump was not created by the Kremlin they are still able to pull his strings.
This is what Strzok says about the Hillary Clinton investigation and its impact on the outcome of the election:
Strzok writes that he now believes it was the wrong decision for Comey to announce publicly in July 2016, just months ahead of the election, that he was recommending Clinton not be charged while criticizing her conduct. He talks, too, of institutional bias against the former Democratic presidential candidate, claiming a retired executive — whom he did not name in the book — said at lunch one day, “Pete, you’ve got to get that b—-.”
Strzok’s view, though, is that the investigation into Clinton was a far less serious matter than the inquiry into Trump.
Even as he says Clinton’s use of a private server is what fueled investigators’ interest, Strzok allows that had her email been housed on the State Department system, “it would have been less secure and probably much more vulnerable to hacking.” He also concedes that Comey’s decision in October 2016 to reveal to Congress that the investigation had resumed — less than two weeks before voters were to go to the polls — probably altered the results of the election in Trump’s favor.
“Reflecting back on 2016 reveals another hard truth: small margins matter in an election in which the total number of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan voters needed to swing the Electoral College would fit in one football stadium,” Strzok writes. “Pundits who argue that it’s hard to substantively change public opinion miss the point: when you’re dealing with razor-thin margins, it doesn’t take much to move the needle. And as much as it pains me to admit it, the Russians weren’t the only ones who pushed the needle toward Trump. The Bureau did too.”
Well, that is a huge admission right there, and it is backed up by a number of political experts who have reexamined the outcome of the 2016 election over and over again.
Here is Strzok’s opinion on the current FBI and Justice Department:
Strzok rebukes current FBI and Justice Department leaders for succumbing to Trump’s repeated attacks on law enforcement. He alleges that they helped foster a culture where those involved in the Clinton and Trump investigations were “shunned and disavowed,” and that Trump had effectively turned the investigation of his own conduct into a “third rail.”
FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered Strzok’s firing, overriding the decision of a lower level official who proposed lesser discipline. Strzok is also critical of FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, in particular, for his concession at a congressional hearing that he had not read all of Mueller’s report.
“However indefensible, the short-term message was clear: DOJ and the FBI’s new leaders were disclaiming responsibility for any investigation relating to Midyear or Crossfire,” Strzok writes, using the code names for the Clinton and Trump investigations. “The long-term message was far worse: it was just too perilous to investigate matters relating to Trump.”
I think most of us know that Peter Strzok became one of Donald Trump’s favorite punching bags and has been attacked by him repeatedly online.
To me, that is always an indication that Trump is desperate to discredit somebody before they start telling the truth about him, which is why I think this book will be an important addition to pile of books critical of Trump that are currently in circulation.