Fired and disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok admitted that he got a key element about the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation wrong following a query from the Washington Examiner, despite his role as the one who opened up the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Strzok incorrectly claimed in his new book, Compromised, that Australian diplomat Alexander Downer was spurred to inform the US government about a May 2016 dialog he had in a London wine bar with George Papadopoulos, during which the Trump campaign volunteer mentioned that Russia could need dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after listening to then-candidate Donald Trump say in July 2016, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails.” Everyone with a brain new that Trump was making a joke while at the same time insulting Clinton for deleting the subpoenaed emails. However, while the Washington Examiner pointed out, special counsel Robert Mueller and DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz both concluded that Australia told the United States of this conversation on July 26, 2016, the day before Trump made the comment about Russia. You would think Strzok would make certain he got details like that right when pushing a book that is supposed to rebuild his credibility. HA!
The former FBI deputy assistant director of counterintelligence made the admission during a Zoom discussion by Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies when the moderator, the Brookings Institution’s Benjamin Wittes, questioned Strzok in regards to the contradiction unearthed by the Washington Examiner. Dan Bongino also pointed the error out during his podcast this week.
“So, I got that wrong. So I was writing my book without the benefit of the notes — the FBI had those — and the IG report had not been issued,” Strzok backpedaled. “What happened was there was a big dump through WikiLeaks that occurred prior to the Australians notifying us, and it’s absolutely as the IG report describes it. They [the Australians] saw that, that prompted their memory of the conversation, and then they began the process of contacting us overseas and giving that information to us. My recollection is, and the reason why I mentioned that conversation about Trump’s speech and ‘Russia are you listening’ — when we finally in the counterintelligence division got that leave from the friendly foreign government, it was at the same time as Trump was making those comments, which were really concerning.”
Strzok tried to downplay the screw up by calling it “a little error” and saying, “I know some people are scrubbing timelines for little details and scoping headlines around them, but that was an honest mistake based on a lack of a specific recollection, and then after I had submitted my book to pre-pub review, all this information came out afterwards.” Strzok’s new book was released this week, with Horowitz’s report released in December 2019 and Mueller’s report released in April 2019.
I’m sorry, but that was huge. The fired FBI agent’s book falsely claims that “the communication … had been precipitated by a public statement by Donald Trump” and that “in Downer’s recounting, Trump’s words jarred his memory of a series of conversations months earlier.” It completely changes much of the narrative.
Strzok made the exact same false claim on CBS’s Sunday Morning. David Martin as CBS News national security correspondent asked Strzok, ”So, Donald Trump, with his own words, brought this investigation down on himself?”
Strzok answered, “According to what the foreign government told us, yes.” That’s a key point to make, and so, to get that wrong means the rest of his book could be filled with other falsehoods.
However, Strzok’s assertions are contradicted by the two men who led investigations into the Trump-Russia with hunt hoax investigation.
“The foreign government conveyed this information to the US government on July 26, 2016, a few days after WikiLeaks’s release of Clinton-related emails,” Mueller stated in his report. “The FBI opened its investigation of potential coordination between Russia and the Trump Campaign a few days later based on the information.”
The Justice Department’s independent watchdog supplied a similar assessment months later.
“On July 26, 2016, four days after Wikileaks publicly released hacked emails from the DNC, the [Friendly Foreign Government] official spoke with a U.S. government official in the European city about an urgent matter,” Horowitz wrote, adding that the U.S. government official said Downer claimed then that Papadopoulos “suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton.”
Peter Strzok doesn’t come off that bright here. He was fired for a slew of security violations, and flagrantly “unprofessional conduct”, including his a practice of keeping sensitive FBI documents on his unsecured personal electronic devices.
A day later, during a Florida press conference on July 27, 2016, Trump delivered the message to Russia.
“I have nothing to do with Putin … I will tell you this: Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.
Trump suggested to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March 2019 that his comments were a “joke” and “sarcastic.” The president told Mueller’s investigators he “made the statement … in jest and sarcastically, as was apparent to any objective observer.” But Trump haters never give this man the benefit of the doubt, even when it’s patently obvious. No one in this world, even Peter Strzok, is dumb enough to say what Trump said publicly without it being a joke.
The kickoff for Crossfire Hurricane was made by Strzok and authorized by FBI counterintelligence official Bill Priestap by the end of July 2016. The investigation looked into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia after Downer told the US in regards to the claims from Papadopoulos, whom the FBI didn’t interview until January 2017. That’s when Papadopoulos revealed his April 2016 alleged conversations with mysterious Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, whom the Trump campaign adviser claimed told him the Russians had damaging information on Clinton. It is believed by many that Mifsud was a US agent who was put up by the Obama people to go seek out Papadopoulos and plant that seed in his mind so that later one he would repeat it and the FBI would pounce on him. Papadopoulos later pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements about his communications with Mifsud.
Horowitz discovered the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation had “sufficient factual predication.” Attorney General William Barr and US Attorney John Durham do not agree.
“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in December.
Barr agreed, saying, “The FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a US presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”
Mueller concluded Russia interfered in 2016 in a “sweeping and systematic fashion” however “did not establish” any criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s campaign. Horowitz criticized the Justice Department for 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against Trump campaign associate Carter Page and for the bureau’s reliance on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s Democrat-funded dossier.