Peter Strzok: The Last Word

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who led the Bureau’s investigation into both the Hillary Clinton email scandal and what turned out to be the Russia hoax–simultaneously!–has sued the Attorney General over his ultimate dismissal from the Bureau. A filing in that case a few days ago has made public the letter to Strzok from Candice Will of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility that suspended Strzok without pay for 60 days and demoted him to a non-supervisory position. If the letter has been made public before now, I am not aware of it. It is embedded below and is well worth reading in its entirety. A few observations:

* The FBI’s OPR found Strzok guilty of unprofessional conduct, security lapses, and failure to follow up on an investigative lead (the Anthony Weiner laptop emails). Will’s letter is brutal; it concludes that “[t]he nature and scope of the misconduct certainly warrants dismissal.” Strzok got off easy, at least at that point.

* With the DOJ Inspector General’s report scheduled to drop early next month, the letter is a useful reminder of one aspect of the FBI scandal. It includes a long series of quotes from Strzok’s text messages with his illicit lover, Lisa Page. Strzok and Page exchanged more than 50 text messages a day for two years, and Will’s letter records their fevered musings about the horrors of a possible Trump administration and their determination to prevent him from being elected. If you read the footnotes, there is entertainment value, too.

* The letter focuses on the fact that Strzok pursued the Russia investigation vigorously, while doing nothing for a month after the Weiner emails came to light. Strzok attributed his negligence in part to the far greater importance, as he saw it, of the Russia investigation. Of course! The Russia investigation might prevent Trump from becoming president, while the Clinton investigation could only hurt his favored candidate. The letter also notes the absurdity of putting the same investigator in charge of the two most important investigations that were going on in late 2016. On its face, as Will’s letter says, that is a ridiculous decision. But it might not be inexplicable if the person who put Strzok in charge–Andrew McCabe?–wanted the same electoral result that Strzok did.

Here is the letter:

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