Friday, July 13, 2018

Peter Strzok's Day

Had the roughly 22 GOP members of the House Committee onOversight and Government Reform each brought into their hearing with Peter Strozk a glove, they would have left with those 22.

No one laid a glove on him.  Strzok calmly and confidently batted away questions and comments from Team Russia as the congressmen vainly attempted to prove that the FBI agent had acted in a biased manner in the investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Most telling was the response (beginning at approximately 12:52, quoted portion at 13:10, below) to chairperson Trey Gowdy, who had angrily charged that Strzok had been removed from the investigation because of "bias." Strzok maintained that instead it was because of the perception of bias in his text messages to girlfriend and fellow agent Lisa Page. He eloquently described the texts as

in response to a series of events which included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero and my presumption based on that horrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect someone demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States. It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So I take great offense and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn't....


Strzok continued the beat-down for a few seconds but most of the damage was done. He not only defended the honor of a family whose son sacrificed his life in war but also gave voice to what many of us expected of the upcoming presidential election- that the American public was sufficiently wise not to elect someone so crude, rude, and unpatriotic.

We were wrong.  

Somewhat, too, wre Democrats on the committee Thursday.  Much of their defense of the witness was on target and they constantly called out the Republicans for conducting a hearing intended to give as much cover to Donald Trump as impossible.

Still, they were a little over-the-top in their praise of Strzok, the FBI, and law enforcement generally. As Chris Hayes pointed out last night *beginning at approximately 12:20, below), what Strzok and Page did is what investigatory agencies do. They bad-mouth the individuals they are investigating; often and sometimes vociferously. They might have elicited that admission from the witness had they asked him why he was comfortable with the virulently anti-Trump text messages he sent.

Surely Republicans are aware that biased remarks are routinely made privately (or semi-privately) during the the course of an inquiry. As they make them, professionals proceed in a vigorous and unbiased manner to perform their jobs as expected. Democrats may assume that this is widely understood among voters- but there are many who are unaware because it is not a factor in their line of work.

It is likely that Strzok would have refused to answer one or two queries in this line of questioning. Nevertheless, he should have been asked why he was comfortable sending those messages when he could have expressed the sentiments over the phone or in-person, thereby avoiding the possibility of anything being placed on the public record.  If he had conceded such conversations were common, it would have been revelatory; had he cited departmental instructions not to respond, that would have been intriguing, if not itself revelatory.

Of course, little of this matters, especially because Thursday's hearing has been thrown off the figurative front page by the indictment of twelve Russian military intelligence officers for allegedly hacking the computer systems and email of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.  Nonetheless, it was heartening to see Peter Strzok, with a minor assist from the Democratic minority, for at least one day own congressional Republicans.

Share |

No comments:

Racism and Sexism Unnecessary

Jen Psaki, perhaps a living embodiment of the Peter Principle, once was a very good press secretary for President Joe Biden and now is a ve...