one strzok and you’re out

Odds are you won’t read the 500+ page report by the DOJ’s Inspector General (and nobody would blame you, because mostly it’s pretty dull and repetitive), but here it is if you want to. I intended to read it, but I couldn’t take it. After the first couple hundred pages, I started skimming.

Seriously, it’s a job of work. The name of the department that published the report is a job of work in itself: the Department of Justice Inspector General Oversight and Review Division. And the title of the report? Prepare yourself:

A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election

There are a lot of interesting little details in the report, but almost all the attention will get focused on two points. Point One: Comey gets spanked. Point Two: Peter Strzok gets spanked. Comey, though I think he’s an honest guy, deserves the spanking because he acted like a sanctimonious prig (well, okay, he wasn’t acting; he IS a sanctimonious prig). Here’s what the report says about Comey:

Comey’s unilateral announcement was inconsistent with Department policy and violated long-standing Department practice and protocol by, among other things, criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct.

In other words, he fucked up by issuing the statement that said Clinton hadn’t done anything that merited prosecution, but she was still negligent in the way she handled her email. The report also stated that:

…in making this decision (to notify leak-prone Republicans that a search warrant had been issued for a computer indirectly related to Clinton a few days before the election), Comey engaged in ad hoc decision making based on his personal views even if it meant rejecting longstanding Department policy or practice.

In other words, he fucked up again by being a sanctimonious prig. However, the IG also found that neither of Comey’s fucked up decisions were “influenced by political preferences” for or against either candidate.

Not that it matters to Comrade Trump or Republicans in general. They’re still claiming the report showed Trump was right to fire Comey (despite Trump having admitted on national television that he fired him because of “this Russia thing, with Trump and Russia”).

Here’s the thing: just about everything you’ll probably see in the news media for the next couple of weeks will be Republicans claiming the IG’s report proves Comrade Trump’s claims of a FBI ‘witch hunt’ are legit (HINT: they’re not). They’ll base those claims on two pieces of contradictory information.

First, the report spanks James Comey for his statement about the Clinton email investigation (that while there was nothing criminal about the way she handled her email, he was of the opinion that it was negligent). Trumpettes will argue this validates his decision to fire Comey. (HINT: it’s a bullshit argument since Trump admitted on camera that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.)

So yeah, Comey deserves his spanking. FBI agent Peter Strzok, maybe not so much (in my opinion, of course). Comrade Trump and other Republicans have been claiming Strzok was part of some shadowy Deep State FBI cabal determined to sabotage the Trump campaign. Why? Because of text messages he shared with Lisa Page, who was 1) his lover and 2) Special Counsel to the Deputy FBI Director. Strzok and Page weren’t pleased with the idea that Donald J. Trump might become POTUS, and weren’t shy about saying that in their private text exchanges. Here’s what Trump and the Complicit Republicans consider to be the money shot:

Page: He’s not ever going to become president, right? Right?!

Strzok: No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.

The IG report states this exchange “implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” I suppose it could imply that. IF Strzok and Page were the leaders of a desperate but plucky band of anti-Trump commandos operating deep within the halls of the FBI. But I’m inclined to think it’s more likely he was simply saying ‘We the voters of the U.S. will stop it.”

One of these guys has spent his life serving his nation in the military and in the FBI as a counterespionage agent. The other is a malicious twit.

And, in fact, the IG report also says this:

“[W]e did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed.”

Trump and the Complicit Republicans aren’t mentioning any of that, are they. They’re too deeply committed to the notion of politically motivated sleeper cells lurking in FBI offices all across the nation.

And hey, guess what. There IS evidence of politically motivated FBI agents trying to influence the election at that point in time. The Strzok-Page text was dated August 8, 2016. If we look at actual headlines from actual newspapers and actual news sites around that time (November, 2016), this is what we see:

The anti-Clinton insurgency at the FBI, explained.

The FBI is Trumpland: anti-Clinton atmosphere spurred leaking, sources say.

Has the FBI Gone Full Breitbart?

Rudy Giuliani Confirms FBI Insiders Leaked Information to the Trump Campaign.

FBI is ‘Trumpland’ and agents are leaking to harm Clinton.

All of these contemporaneous articles, without exception, are about how much the FBI distrusted Hillary Clinton and were actively trying to help the Trump campaign. There’s your Deep State FBI conspiracy, right there. And note that in at least one of those articles we have Rudy Giuliani bragging about how FBI agents had leaked privileged information directly to him and to the Trump campaign.

What is Rudy Nine-Eleven saying now? This:

“Mueller should be suspended and honest people should be brought in, impartial people to investigate these people like Peter Strzok. Strzok should be in jail by the end of next week.”

Is anybody in the news media suggesting Rudy should be investigated about FBI leaks? Is anybody saying Rudy should be in jail? Sadly, no.

What it comes down to is this: the Inspector General is doing exactly the same thing it spanked Comey for. It’s being a sanctimonious prig. The IG report essentially says ‘There’s nothing actually wrong here, but we can see how it might appear that way, so we have to do better.’ And, just like they did with the Comey announcements, Comrade Trump and his Complicit Republicans will twist that into an admission by the FBI that they were guilty.

What gets lost in all this, of course, is the fact that one candidate was actively colluding with a hostile nation to sway a presidential election. We’re so busy making a fuss about not coming to a complete halt at a Stop sign that we don’t see the bank robbers in the getaway car.

 

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