During Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, several Democrats asked if, without a crime to investigate, a special counsel investigation could be begun into bias in the FBI and Justice Department. Rosenstein correctly said no. But, what if there was a crime worth investigating – like top-level FBI officials involved in a Hatch Act violation of the worst kind. But having lost faith in congressional oversight, the special counsel process and the Justice Department, America isn’t holding its breath.
The Hatch Act explicitly prohibits most federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity while in an official capacity. While the committee members were focused on whether or not bias within America’s federal justice system should be investigated, they should instead be pushing for a probe into what could be the worst electoral corruption scandal in U.S. history.
The Justice Department on Wednesday released text messages to and from FBI senior agent Peter Strzok. One exchange between Strzok and his then-girlfriend Lisa Page specifically names Deputy Director Andrew ‘Andy’ McAbe in what appears to be a plot to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Mr. Strzok wrote in an Aug. 15 text. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
The text implies a planning session with McAbe during which Ms. Page suggested that Trump had no way to win the election, but Strzok argued that the group could not take the risk that he might. Then the mention of “an insurance policy” alluded to a plan to make sure that Trump lost the election.
Page and Strzok exchanged a multitude of profanity-filled text messages in which they insulted Trump while praising Hillary and Biden. Their hatred of Mr. Trump is obvious in the texts and so deep-seeded that it is difficult to believe that it didn’t affect them on a professional level.
Ms. Page wrote in a text message later in August: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” Strzok then responded, “Thanks. It’s absolutely true that we’re both very fortunate, and of course i’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps.”
Strzok, a married man, was compromised by his affair with Page who had previously worked on Mueller’s team. But, just how was Strzok expected to “protect the country?”
Strzok was present at FBI interviews for Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Michael Flynn. He was also the agent that changed the wording in former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on the investigation into Hillary’s email server. The wording in the document originally characterized Clinton’s mishandling of classified data as “gross negligence” which fits the description in the criminal statute but Strzok’s modified verbiage called her actions “extremely careless.” James Comey then used the statement to kill any chance for prosecution.
The “insurance policy” could also have referred to the Trump Dossier created by Christopher Steele for Fusion GPS. The dossier wasn’t made public until Buzzfeed published it in January 2017, so for Page, Strzok and McAbe to know about it in August would have required inside information from FusionGPS. It turns out they had it.
Brian Ohr, a member of Mueller’s special counsel investigation, is Married to Nellie Ohr who happens to be employed by Fusion GPS and was working on the Trump dossier. Ohr was demoted and sent to work in human resources once his contacts with Fusion GPS were made public.
Mr. Rosenstein cited the ongoing inspector general’s investigation into the FBI as the main reason he could not provide information to Congress on the McAbe, Strzok, Pane, Comey conspiracy, but the I.G. can’t investigate Hatch Act violations. That responsibility is left to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel Hatch Act to which, hopefully, the IG would refer these obvious violations.
But America isn’t holding its breath.