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Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Peter Strzok’s role in Clinton email investigation takes a sinister turn
Former FBI counter-intelligence
expert Peter Strzok, demoted by Robert Mueller following a series of
anti-Trump texts to his mistress, was the individual responsible for
changing the wording in Director Comey's statement on Hillary Clinton's
handling of classified information from "grossly negligent" to
That single change probably kept
Hillary Clinton out of jail.
It has also been revealed that Strzok
was the FBI agent who interviewed both Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin,
Hillary Clinton's two top aides. Mills and Abedin made misleading
statements to the FBI in that interview but went unpunished.
That a demonstrably partisan
investigator has been at the center of an investigation that could lead to the
impeachment of a president of the United States makes it impossible for Robert
Mueller to claim that his investigation is unbiased and independent.
First, Strzok giving Clinton
a "get out of jail" edit to Comey's statement.
Electronic records show Peter Strzok,
who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server as the No.
2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey's earlier draft
language describing Clinton's actions as "grossly negligent" to
"extremely careless," the sources said.
The drafting process was a team
effort, CNN is told, with a handful of people reviewing the language as edits
were made, according to another US official familiar with the matter.
The shift from "grossly
negligent" to "extremely careless," which may appear pedestrian
at first glance, reflected a decision by the FBI that could have had
potentially significant legal implications, as the federal law governing the
mishandling of classified material establishes criminal penalties for
Hang on to those orange pantsuits, Baby!
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck
Grassley, R-Iowa, raised questions over why the change was made after
receiving documents from the FBI last month, but the identity of who was behind
the edit has not been reported until now.
CNN has also learned that Strzok was
the FBI official who signed the document officially opening an investigation
into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to sources familiar with
the matter. As the No. 2 official in counterintelligence, Strzok was considered
to be one of the bureau's top experts on Russia.
But the news of Strzok's direct role
in the statement that ultimately cleared the former Democratic presidential
candidate of criminal wrongdoing, now combined with the fact that he was
dismissed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team after exchanging private
messages with an FBI lawyer that could be seen as favoring Clinton politically,
may give ammunition to those seeking ways to discredit Mueller's Russia
The FBI agent who was fired from
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation team for sending
anti-Donald Trump text messages conducted the interviews with two Hillary
Clinton aides accused of giving false statements about what they knew of the
former secretary of state's private email server.
Neither of the Clinton associates,
Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, faced legal consequences for their misleading
statements, which they made in interviews last year with former FBI section
chief Peter Strzok.
At the time, Strzok was the FBI's top
investigator on the fledgling investigation into Russian interference in the
presidential campaign. He was appointed to supervise that effort at the end of
July 2016, just weeks after the conclusion of the Clinton email probe.
CNN reported on Monday that as the FBI's No. 2
counterintelligence official, Strzok signed the documents that officially
opened the collusion inquiry.
Mills and Abedin must have been
relieved when they figured out that the agent interviewing them was a friendly.
Summaries of the interviews, known as
302s, were released by the FBI last year.
A review of those documents conducted
by The Daily Caller shows that Mills and Abedin told Strzok and Laufman that
they were not aware of Clinton's server until after she left the State
Abedin and Mills
"Mills did not learn Clinton was
using a private server until after Clinton's [Department of State]
tenure," reads notes from Mills' May 28, 2016 interview. "Mills
stated she was not even sure she knew what a server was at the time."
Abedin also denied knowing about
Clinton's server until leaving the State Department in 2013.
"Abedin did not know that
Clinton had a private server until about a year and a half ago when it became
public knowledge," the summary of Strzok's interview with Abedin states.
But undercutting those denials are
email exchanges in which both Mills and Abedin either directly discussed or
were involved in discussing Clinton's server.
"hrc email coming back – is server
okay?" Mills asked in a Feb. 27, 2010 email to Abedin and Justin Cooper, a
longtime aide to Bill Clinton who helped set up the Clinton server.
"Ur funny. We are on the same
server," Cooper replied.
Mills and Abedin were also involved
in an Aug. 30, 2011 exchange in which State Department official Stephen Mull
mentioned that Clinton's "email server is down."
And in a Jan. 9, 2011 email exchange,
Cooper told Abedin that Clinton's server had been malfunctioning because
"someone was trying to hack us."
"Had to shut down the
server," wrote Cooper, who told the FBI in his interviews that
he discussed Clinton's server with Abedin in 2009, when it was being set
In his congressional testimony last
year, Comey gave both aides a pass on lying to the FBI:
"Having done many investigations
myself, there's always conflicting recollections of facts, some of which are
central [to the investigation], some of which are peripheral," Comey told
Jason Chaffetz, a former Utah congressman who served on the committee last
Chaffetz was not buying Comey's
"I think she lied to
everybody," he said of Mills in an interview on Fox News the night of the
"There's direct evidence that
she actually did know [about the server]," said Chaffetz, who added that
Comey's defense of Mills "makes no sense."
It "makes sense" now.
Abedin and Mills lied through their
teeth because if they told the truth, they both feared getting caught up in
Hillary's legal troubles. They might have gone to jail themselves if
Strzok hadn't changed the language in Comey's recommendation.
Even if you buy the narrative that
all of this isn't "evidence," but rather "supposition," the
appearance of impropriety is overwhelming. Don't you think we deserve a
lot more from a special counsel charged with the extraordinary task of
investigating a president for impeachable offenses?