Strzok Accuses Inspector General Michael Horowitz of Changing His Report on Clinton Email Investigation to Please White House

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok is seated to testify before the the House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform during a hearing on "Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions Surrounding the 2016 Election," on Capitol Hill, Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

So, according to this story at Fox News, Strzok claims that the Inspector General’s report on “Mid-Year Exam” — the investigation into the decision-making on the Hillary Clinton private server matter — was changed between the draft Strzok was shown, and the final draft, to say that the text messages and other conduct of Strozk and Page created the “appearance of bias” with regard to how MYE was conducted and concluded.  Strzok claims the earlier draft shown to him said there was no basis to conclude the personal views of the two influenced their decision-making.

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, in his memoir released Tuesday, accused Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz of changing his report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation from a draft that largely was supportive of how Stzork handled himself to the more critical final product after the DOJ and possibly the White House had seen the draft.

Those messages … were a major topic of the nearly 600-page report, which said there was “no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations” but that Strzok’s actions “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.”

Strzok made the accusation … in a chapter titled “Bait and Switch”…  “In time I actually found myself looking forward to the public release of the IG’s report,” Strzok wrote. “By late May the IG had concluded in his draft report that there was no documentary or testimonial evidence of bias in Midyear Exam.”

The language used here is significant, as it is the same language used by the IG in the report on the abuse of FISA relating to the FISA warrant obtained against Carter Page.  This phrase conveys that the Inspector General has not found any “documentary” evidence — meaning no one committed anything to writing which expressed an overt bias as part of the investigation.  “Testimonial evidence” is a reference to statements made to the IG by anyone who was interviewed making an oral expression of bias against Donald Trump during the interview when explaining their actions during the investigation, i.e., something tantamount to a “confession.”

But, as has been noted many times in many places, the Inspector General lacks subpoena power, and can only interview those who are willing to be interviewed.  The IG has no authority to compel interviews by anyone no longer working for DOJ.  Further, the IG has no oversight with respect to DOJ attorneys — that task is conferred upon the Office of Professional Responsibility alone.

The implications of these limitations are that the IG is in a position that it is sometimes “stuck” with the answers it receives, even when it has a suspicion that the answers are not complete or forthright.

The Fox News story continued — quoting Strzok in his book:

“A little more than two weeks later … the report had been sent to the DOJ, which meant that its conclusions likely had been seen by the White House too. And now some of its conclusions had been changed.”

Strzok went on to write that Horowitz said the changes to the report were a result of the unearthing of additional text messages by Strzok and Page. Among them was an August 2016 exchange in which Page said: ”

[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok texted back: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

Strzok said it was the “We’ll stop it” exchange specifically that “seemed to unnerve Horowitz,” but defended it based on the timing of when it was sent, while saying he did not remember sending it in the first place.

“Days after Trump’s repeated attacks on the immigrant family of Humayun Khan, an army captain who gave his life for our country when he was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004, I had expressed my view that Trump would never be elected,” he wrote in the book. “In a text that to this day I still do not remember writing, late at night I wrote, ‘We will stop it.'”

Strzok continued: “It was an artless comment but conveyed my firm belief that Trump … would not be chosen by the American people to become president.”

“Days after” …  The Khans spoke on the final night of the 2016 DNC Convention, July 28, 2016.  The text message exchange with Page was 9 days later — August 8, 2016.

In the interim, one of Strzok’s subordinates received from London the information from the Australian government; there were numerous meetings between July 28 and July 31 on how to deal with that information; on July 31 he drafted the Opening “Electronic Communication” for Crossfire Hurricane which his boss, Bill Priestap approved, and then he flew to London to interview the Australians.  On August 3, Lisa Page and McCabe met with Bruce Ohr to discuss information he had been provided by his friend Christopher Steele.

So, yes, it’s completely believable that when Strzok was texting Page “We’ll stop him”, what was animating his thoughts were candidate Trump’s comments about the Khan family.

This Strzok guy is just not very bright.  He will — if a chance presents itself — be crushed on cross-examination on this subject.

Back to Fox:

He said the texts “triggered Horowitz’s apparent risk aversion and caused him to make a fateful and ill-considered edit to the report he had already drafted.” Strzok challenged the basis for Horowitz’s criticisms of the Clinton probe….

He added that accusations the FBI prioritized “Crossfire Hurricane,” the investigation into alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia, over Midyear Exam were unfounded and that even if the FBI had prioritized the Trump investigation it would have been justified because “Crossfire was inarguably a much more urgent and consequential investigation.”

I guess that is his way of saying that to the extent he had the authority to direct resources and attention to more significant cases involving threats to US interests and national security, he did not do so.  “First come, first serve” is the Strzok principle for prioritizing work.

Strzok recalled protesting the changes in discussions with Horowitz’s team but said it was to no avail.

“None of it made any difference. The IG had made up his mind. I left feeling indignant, defeated, and persecuted,” he said. “[I]t was the most irresponsible kind of character assassination perpetrated for the lowest of reasons.”

“Character assassination”?   Using his own words as context to evaluate his actions when considering them as a backdrop to evaluate motives he won’t admit to?

Peter Strzok is a clown.  I’m still waiting for someone who worked with him to appear on Twitter and hail him as a Special Agent “non-pareil”.

The next person who does so will be the first one so far as I can tell.