July 13, 2018

Peter Strzok Testifies

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

at a raucous congressional hearing on Thursday that highlighted the deep divisions over a probe of Russian election meddling that has clouded Trump’s presidency.” (Reuters)

Many on both sides criticized the tone of the hearing:

See past issues

The left is criticizing Republican lawmakers for politicizing the hearing.

“No matter how many times Strzok insisted that his professional actions were not impacted by his negative feelings toward Trump—and that agents are trained to leave their political beliefs at the door—Republicans insisted, without providing evidence, that his work had been tainted… [the hearing] reflected how far the Republican-controlled panels have been willing to go to discredit the probe into potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.”

The Atlantic

“They want us to believe there was an FBI conspiracy to prevent Trump from being elected president, and what did that conspiracy do? First, it mounted a cautious investigation of what nearly everyone now acknowledges was a comprehensive effort by Russia to help Trump get elected, an effort that people on the Trump campaign and even in Trump’s own family tried to cooperate with. But then it kept that investigation completely secret from the public, lest news of it affect the outcome of the [election] in any way.”

Washington Post

“In the end, the only thing we really learned is that Strzok -- a government official who exercised terrible judgment in his mode and manner of communicating -- is a fallible human being… When compared to the juvenile behavior of those in charge of his inquisition, he came across as almost saintly.”


“All of it, just like most of the broader House investigation, was a distraction from this central point about the conspiracy narratives the president and his defenders have been cooking up about the FBI: If the agency had been trying to harm Mr. Trump’s campaign, agents could have released damaging information on pro-Trump Russian interference before Election Day — and they did not.”

Washington Post

“The key has always been that FBI agents should not allow their political opinions to influence their work — and for all of the wild accusations made about Strzok and Lisa Page, his lover, none have even come close to proving that their conversations were anything more than expressions of their own individual views.”


“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

The right is criticizing both Strzok and House Democrats’ support for him.

The right is criticizing both Strzok and House Democrats’ support for him.

Strzok “concluded a long oration on his own behalf by stating that the accusation that his anti-Trumpism affected his professional conduct ‘deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.’... But most organizations have bad apples. Their misconduct is corrosive. Holding them accountable is not; it’s restorative. That’s why the FBI recently escorted Strzok out of its building.”

Powerline Blog

Strzok is being highly economical with his view of what constitutes ‘evidence’ of his bias. In what seems like pretty solid evidence of his support for Clinton affecting one of his investigations… when Strzok was leading the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email, he changed the language of an FBI document to make Clinton’s actions not fit the established legal standard for mishandling classified information.”


Regarding Strzok’s ‘we will stop it’ message, “the real question is what Strzok meant by the text. Strzok first said he didn’t mean that he had affected the investigation, then said he didn’t remember sending the text, after explaining he sent it late at night. None of this is credible.”

Daily Wire

Even CNN thought his explanation for the texts was weak sauce. CNN host Wolf Blitzer called them ‘damning,’ while political director David Chalian said to suggest these texts were not indicative of bias is ‘just flat wrong on its face.’”


Moreover, “from the outset, it was clear that Democrats had no intention of gathering information — or doing their jobs, namely to conduct legislative oversight over the FBI. Instead, they turned the hearing into a partisan show of political grandstanding and feigned outrage.”

Daily Wire

Rep. Steve Scalise

R-LA) tweeted, “It’s shameful that Democrats are trying to distract Americans from the fact that the person leading the investigation into President Trump’s campaign was a Hillary Clinton supporter who promised his colleague[s] they would stop Trump from becoming President.”


Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Finance bro quits job in a blaze of glory, sprays champagne all over boss's stuff.


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