December 7th, 2017

Thoughts on the Forrest Gump of the FBI, Strzok

Yesterday I called former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok a “vast and beckoning mystery.” That, he remains. But today I’ll offer a few thoughts about him nevertheless, based on what we do know (or think we know). Some of this will be in the form of questions.

Finally, Congress will be getting Strzok’s texts:

The Justice Department is in the process of handing over to the House Intelligence Committee the anti-Trump text messages that got a key FBI official removed from Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Fox News has learned — a move that comes as the panel weighs a possible contempt resolution…

The existence of the texts first emerged publicly over the weekend…

Nunes originally had given the agencies until “close of business” on Monday to “fully” comply with the panel’s demands. Otherwise, he threatened to move a contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

There’s a lot in there to unpack, although it’s not easy to know exactly what it signifies (this appears true of the entire Strzok story). It seems logical to believe that the reason “the existence of the texts first emerged publicly over the weekend” was the threat by Nunes. Or perhaps that’s just one of the reasons; there might be others.

The FBI moved Strzok to HR and took him off all counterintelligence work last August. No, scratch that; we don’t actually know when that happened, we just know that it was announced in August. It would help to know the answer. It would also help to know when the questionable texts were sent. And when were they first discovered by the IG? When did the FBI first learn of them?

We therefore don’t actually know the timeline or how long this was kept under wraps after they knew (or if we do know, I certainly missed the news). We do know that an IG was appointed to investigate the Clinton email investigation back in January of 2017, even before Trump was inaugurated, and this was what ultimately led to the uncovering of the partisan texts that Strzok exchanged with his paramour Page.

You may or may not remember (I didn’t) that it was the Democrats who had called for the IG in the first place (the link goes to an article from January of 2017 before Trump’s inauguration):

The announcement [of the IG appointment], which was expected, comes after criticism of the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation, particularly on how the public was notified about the controversy, which was a major issue on the 2016 campaign trail.

It will likely mean questions over the role of FBI Director James Comey in the fading days of the election, which Democrats believe helped cost them the presidency, will linger on long into the administration of Donald Trump…

Democrats were furious when Comey wrote to lawmakers less than two weeks before the election announcing the discovery of emails potentially relevant to its investigation of Clinton’s handling of classified information…

The move allowed Trump to argue that the investigation against Clinton, which he had used to cast doubt on her character and integrity throughout the campaign, was once again deserving of voters’ attention. A few days before the election, Comey wrote to lawmakers again to say that based on a review of emails, the agency had not changed its opinion that Clinton should not face criminal charges.

But Democrats say his move came too late and have said that the initial letter stalled her momentum during the final two weeks of the campaign.

At the time, Democrats hoped this IG appointment would be a way to delegitimize Trump’s election by blaming Comey. It hasn’t turned out that way, and Strzok’s anti-Trump texts were somehow uncovered in the process.

At least, that’s the story we’ve since been told. We still don’t know what is actually in the texts. And I maintain that we don’t really know why Strzok was demoted and sent to HR Siberia. After all, agents actually are allowed to make private political statements. Was the problem that he did it on an FBI phone, which is not considered private? Or are we only hearing the tip of the iceberg of what the problems with Strzok might actually have been?

The texts might have been found any time after January and the IG’s appointment. We do know that Strzok was not removed from his counter-intelligence work before the Flynn interview, because he was in on that one. But the Flynn interview occurred shortly after Trump’s inauguration. So the texts might have been found quite early on in the IGs investigation, and Strzok removed rather quickly, and the removal only announced in August. Or there could have been a time lag of unknown length, but up to about seven months, between those two events. Or they both could have occurred in August or close to it.

All we know is that Strzok’s removal was announced in mid-August, not long after FBI director Comey had been fired by Trump (in June) and interim director McCabe was replaced by present FBI director Wray (in early August). So it may have been Wray who gave the order to remove Strzok. And we certainly don’t know for sure why Wray decided to keep the reason for Strzok’s demotion under wraps, although we can strongly speculate that it was because the news would cast suspicion on the entire investigation that he had come to head.

In other words, someone was hiding this suspicious news from the public. The article I linked contains some interesting speculation. All that was known at the time was that Strzok had been demoted, but:

Asha Rangappa, a former FBI counterintelligence agent and associate dean at Yale Law School, said that she had “never heard of an agent being moved to the human resources department.”

“I have seen instances where if some issue comes up, the agent might be moved to another investigation or to the operations center, where you essentially field calls all day,” Rangappa said. “But why he would be moved to HR is just bizarre.”

Rangappa did not want to speculate on what may have happened in Strzok’s case, but said there were many factors — ranging from small administrative violations to more significant incidents — that could raise questions about an agent’s ability to stay on a case.

Rangappa not only picked up on how unusual this move was, but she made an educated guess that was even more impressive at the time (and one I haven’t found anyone else was making back then):

Rangappa noted that the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) opened an investigation in January into the FBI’s handling of the email probe, including former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to announce a new inquiry into her email server 11 days before the election. It is not clear whether Strzok, who supervised elements of the email probe, was caught up in the OIG investigation.

Well, now we’ve been told that he was caught up in that investigation.

But back to Nunes, who’s been pursuing Strzok with dogged Javertian/Porfiryan persistence for a long time:

In early October, Nunes personally asked Rosenstein – who has overseen the Trump-Russia probe since the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions – to make Strzok available to the committee for questioning, sources said.

When a month had elapsed, House investigators – having issued three subpoenas for various witnesses and documents – formally recommended to Nunes that the DOJ and FBI be held in contempt of Congress. Nunes continued pressing the DOJ, including a conversation with Rosenstein as recently as last Wednesday.

Responding to the revelations about Strzok’s texts, Nunes said Saturday he was directing his staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and Wray.

Suddenly, things changed:

Early Saturday afternoon, after Strzok’s texts were cited in published reports by The New York Times and The Washington Post – and Fox News had followed up with inquiries about the department’s refusal to make Strzok available to House investigators – the Justice Department contacted the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan to establish a date for Strzok’s appearance before House Intelligence Committee staff, along with two other witnesses long sought by the Nunes team.

Was that done in response to Nunes’ threat of a contempt citation? If so, why? Other officials have weathered such citations. And was there even enough time after the Nunes threat to prepare the Times and WaPo stories? Or did the papers know ahead of time what was going to be happening with Nunes? At any rate, the timing does not seem coincidental.

Nunes said:

…that after the Strzok texts were revealed [by the MSM], the DOJ expressed a “sudden willingness to comply with some of the Committee’s long-standing demands” but added: “This attempted 11th-hour accommodation is neither credible nor believable, and in fact is yet another example of the DOJ’s disingenuousness and obstruction.”

Reading about Strzok makes some people think of Forrest Gump. But it makes me think of T. S. Eliot’s poem “Macavity.” A few stanzas:

Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw –
For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime – Macavity’s not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime – Macavity’s not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air –
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty’s gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair –
But it’s useless to investigate – Macavity’s not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
‘It must have been Macavity!’ – but he’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place – MACAVITY WASN’T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known,
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime.

[NOTE: Andrew C. McCarthy strikes a cautionary note. I agree that Strzok may not actually be a Macavity; he may be more of a MacGuffin.]

30 Responses to “Thoughts on the Forrest Gump of the FBI, Strzok”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    Strzok is being set up as the scapegoat. But I suspect he was taking orders from someone; Comey or Lynch.

    It is also possible that the Clintons bribed him with bitcoin or gold. Think about how the cops almost allowed the hit on The Don when he was in the hospital. Michael had to move him.

    I knew when Cheryl Mills got the immunity deal and was allowed to be a lawyer, witness and target in the same case that this was a complete setup. It was rigged.

  2. Rufus Firefly Says:

    Aha! So that’s where the skiffle band that sang, “In the Summertime” gets its name!

  3. vanderleun Says:

    “The FBI moved Strzok to HR and took him off all counterintelligence work last August.”

    Ah yes, “Human Resources” that’s where you want somebody like Strozok. Right there in the heart of hiring and making sure employees follow procedures and rules at the FBI.

  4. Oldflyer Says:

    I am sure that I am not alone as I begin to despair that the swamp will ever be drained. The Deep State is simply too large, too well entrenched, and too dedicated to its own preservation–and agenda.

    The federal government is simply one manifestation of the rot; and maybe not even the most egregious. State and local over-reach and corruption add additional layers.

    I accept my share of blame. Along with most of the public I simply went about daily life and ignored that our Republic was being systematically undermined from within. I am willing to act now; but, am at a loss as to what to do.

  5. Rufus Firefly Says:


    I fear you’re right. It’s nearly impossible. I think the 16th amendment, followed by the 17th, did the most, direct harm, but allowing federal and state employees to unionize also set the downfall inexorably in motion.

  6. CapnRusty Says:

    Fox News reports that there were 10,000 texts between Stroz and his paramour, Lisa Page. Ms Page was an FBI lawyer who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe was in charge of the e-mail investigation of Hillary Clinton. McCabe’s wife, Jill, was urged by Va Governor Terry McAuliffe, to run for the Virginia state senate, and McAuliffe facilitated a donation of $700,000 to her campaign. McAuliffe was chairman of Hillary’s 2008 campaign, and over the past several decades had raised over $300 million for Clinton causes. McAuliffe plans to run for the White House in 2020.

    Oldlyer: We’re all in the same boat. We didn’t do enough. Yet.

  7. parker Says:

    I agree with all of the above posts. But government manipulation and corruption are always a result of too much power held in a small number of hands. A concentration of power/money always attracts criminals and grifters. The Clintonista syndicate is just one example among many.

    When there are no consequences for evil deeds, evil deeds multiply.

  8. Yancey Ward Says:

    Was that done in response to Nunes’ threat of a contempt citation?

    Probably not. They were already prepared to throw Strzok under the bus the day Flynn agreed to his plea. I have absolutely no doubt the sources for the Wapo and NYTimes stories were the FBI and/or Mueller’s team- no doubt whatsoever. After Flynn pled out, there was no need to hide Strzok any longer, and a great deal to be gained by tossing him overboard. I will just about bet that Strzok leaves the FBI within 3 months to take high paying job somewhere with a well connected Democratic law firm.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I highly recommend this clear, concise Tucker Carlson synopsis; “Tucker: FBI is out of control, thinks it’s above the law”
    “Tucker’s Thoughts: FBI agent Peter Strzok was heavily involved in 2 politicized cases -the Clinton email investigation, Russian collusion probe and oversaw interviews with Mike Flynn. Yet he sent controversial anti-Trump texts. #Tucker”

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    oh lawd.. longest post eva…
    she caught my my longpostitus..
    somebody start a fund me page to help…

  11. Mike K Says:

    Early Saturday afternoon, after Strzok’s texts were cited in published reports by The New York Times and The Washington Post – and Fox News had followed up with inquiries about the department’s refusal to make Strzok available to House investigators

    This is known, or was in Nixon days, as a “modified limited hangout.” The Times and the WaPoo were fed the story, sort of like Lois Lerner’s revelation at the accountant meeting of her treatment of Tea Parties, to get ahead of a story about to break.

    There is more coming, A lot more. A DoJ guy was demoted today because he was involved in the Fusion GPS mess.

    More is coming. Nunes is the hero. He was the first to warn Trump that there was a plot.

  12. neo-neocon Says:



  13. Philip Says:

    Well, Macavity certainly makes a more fun read than Mackie Messer.

  14. J.J. Says:

    Mike K: “More is coming. Nunes is the hero. He was the first to warn Trump that there was a plot.”

    Yep. More to come. It will take a major effort to get the info. Jeff Sessions is on the sideline. Rod Rosenstein seems to be orchestrating the whole cover up of the plot by the Deep State to delegitimize Trump. Strzok has a lot of the answers. He’s not going to provide them to Congress unless they have more leverage, which at this point they don’t. Strzok will thumb his nose at Congress just like Lois Lerner did.

    The FBI is part of the Justice Department. AG Sessions should be able to give them directions to cooperate in all ways with the Congressional oversight and investigative bodies. Except that Rosenstein convinced him to recuse himself from any investigation into Trump/Russia collusion. 🙁

    There are many GOPe members like Mitt Romney, Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Jeff Flake, and many others who would welcome the delegitimizing of Trump. And they claim to be small government conservatives. Yikes! Think about the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. who share those same thoughts. I consider James Comey to be typical. He’s supposed to be a law and order man, but he has opinions much like those of the #NeverTrumpers. Unlike Oldflyer, he believes he’s in a position to stop Trump. So, believing he is on the side of righteousness, he does what he can. Same with Rosenstein. Same with Strzok. It’s a big scheme and may never actually be exposed.

    Thank God for men like Nunes, who seems to be courageous. The problem is that Congress is a paper tiger when it comes to standing up to the Justice Department. Or has been so far. In the end it may be some outfit like Judicial Watch or Project Veritas (Both organizations that I donate some money to because I think they do good work.) that gets the info out. We’ll see.

  15. parker Says:

    Good one artfldgr! I suspect neoneocon is like a schipperke with a rat in its mouth, just wants to tear it apart and reluctant to let go. 😉

  16. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    “If you kicked everybody off of Mueller’s team who was anti-Trump, I don’t think there’d be anyone left,” said Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio.
    There is more to Strzok than meets the eye.
    Now Bruce Ohr has been demoted because of Fusion GPS contacts.
    Is Sessions moving?

  17. parker Says:

    Ed Bonderenka,

    Sessions has been widely criticized by many on the right. I think he is like a spider waiting to see how many flies his web catches before he wraps them up in silk and injects the poison.

  18. Gringo Says:

    Powerline has a video of Congressman Jordan “interrogating
    FBI Director Christopher Wray.” Jim Jordan Makes the Case Against the FBI and Peter Strzok.
    Jordan makes the point that Strzok was far from the only pro-Clinton person on the investigation. (my transcription)

    “If you kicked everybody off Mueller’s team who was anti-Trump I don’t think there would be anyone left… It can’t just be some text messages…There’s gotta be something more. “

    Jordan speculates on what was going on.

    Jordan further suspects that it was Strzok, a virulent Trump-hater, who took the false Russian information in the dossier and dressed it up as a FISA court application, which in turn generated an order allowing the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign. Wray refuses to comment.

    Wray declines to answer, citing confidentiality of FISA material.
    Jordan replies (my transcription) :

    “We’re not we’re talking about what happened in the court. We’re talking about what the FBI took to the court.”

    Wray still maintains that now is not the time to reply.
    Time runs out.

    There are 7 minutes of video.

  19. skeptic Says:

    Gringo, I agree that video of Jordan’s interaction linked on Powerline is must see.

    What infuriates me is the smug half grin on Wray’s face when he stonewalls Jordan and the committee chairman. This guy was appointed by Trump and is supposed to be up and up.


    Something stinks here. The DOJ under Sessions is stonewalling and nothing is happening to them.

  20. parker Says:

    skeptic, you may be correct, but I am not giving up on Sessions. He serves at the will of djt. He could be out the door in a nanosecond…. waiting, waiting.

  21. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Parker: I hope so.

  22. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “What infuriates me is the smug half grin on Wray’s face when he stonewalls Jordan and the committee chairman. This guy was appointed by Trump and is supposed to be up and up.” skeptic

    Andrew McCarthy’s tweet gives me pause:
    “Andrew C. McCarthy‏Verified account
    2h2 hours ago
    “Love my friends @jhinderaker & @Jim_Jordan, but elephant in room here is POTUS could order that FISA application be disclosed to Congress. Why beat up Wray? Why not ask why POTUS not disclosing info that would prove dossier misused?” … via @powerlineUS

  23. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Geoff: You think he knows he can?

  24. CW Says:

    Great post. It just gets curioser and curioser, eh?

  25. why coh Says:

    With the confirmation regarding the dating in yearbook of one of
    moores accusers, will you be revisiting the issue of credibility- for both accusers and the presses investigation and reporting on these stories

  26. skeptic Says:

    Re: McCarthy’s column and tweet/email to Hinderaker and Jordan:

    They’re basically cover for his buddies in the FBI. I am disappointed in him.

    Yes, the President and the Attorney General can order FBI Director Wray to give the FISA court document to Congress but why should they have to do that? Wray’s job one should be to drain the swamp at the FBI. Wray and McCarthy apparently think his job is to cover for them.

  27. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Breaking news. The Judge overseeing the Flynn case, Contreras, was also a judge on the FISA court that approved the secret warrant which the FBI/DOJ used to tap Trump’s phones. Today, he “was recused.”

    Normally, a judge will recuse himself, but that’s not how it was announced.

    The ground is shaking. Something big is going to fall down . . .

  28. AesopFan Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    December 7th, 2017 at 10:24 pm
    McCarthy: “POTUS could order that FISA application be disclosed to Congress. Why beat up Wray? Why not ask why POTUS not disclosing info that would prove dossier misused?”
    * *
    How do we know Trump hasn’t given that order and it’s being stonewalled as well? Or someone convinced him that there are legal problems for him (true or not) if the FISA application is revealed?
    He can’t fire anyone until there is public proof that he has good cause, and the DOJ/FBI minions are sticking together like… minions.

    Ed: somebody’s told him by now that he has the authority to do it, but as we’ve seen, that is no ways equivalent to having political cover to do it.

    Skeptic: I think you may have something here. “Yes, the President and the Attorney General can order FBI Director Wray to give the FISA court document to Congress but why should they have to do that? Wray’s job one should be to drain the swamp at the FBI. Wray and McCarthy apparently think his job is to cover for them.”

    But the entire kernel of the problem is that most, if not all, of the bureaucrats are doing anything BUT their job.

    Oldflyer & Rufus: Yes to you both; the country has been derelict, but each increment in the decline has been a “rational” increment (at least in some views).
    The only way to stop the last straw from breaking the camel’s back is to quit piling on straw much sooner — but there’s always a “good reason” to add “just one more” until the breaking point is reached.
    The 16th and 17th Amendments started the snowball downhill, but it accrued lots of layers along the way.

  29. om Says:

    Andrew McCarthy talked with Andrew Klavan on the Thursday 12/7/17 Andrew Klavan Show. It is available on YouTube and Soundcloud. McCarthy’s hadn’t reached a conclusion on Strzok yet.

  30. Sven Says:

    People keep saying, “99% of the FBI folks are great we love them. It’s only the leadership that’s been corrupted.” I say BS. Where is the revolt among the rank and file? If you know about corruption at the top and do nothing—not even resigning—you’re a collaborator.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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