How Does the Strzok Text Dump Differ from Jim Comey’s July 5, 2016 Speech?

I’m a bit bemused by the response to DOJ’s release of the texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. As Rod Rosenstein testified before HJC yesterday, the release came after notice to Strzok and Page through their lawyers. The release of the texts came with the approval of DOJ IG Michael Horowitz — who says the investigation into the underlying conduct may last through spring. And Rosenstein strongly implied he wanted them released, taking responsibility for it (while claiming not to know whether Jeff Sessions had a role in their release).

As he explained to Trey Gowdy — who, like a number of Republicans, claimed to be at a loss of what to say to constituents who asked “what in the hell is going on with DOJ and the FBI” — the release of the texts proves that any wrongdoing will be met with consequences.

Gowdy: What happens when people who are supposed to cure the conflict of interest have even greater conflicts of interests than those they replace? That’s not a rhetorical question. Neither you nor I nor anyone else would ever sit Peter Strzok on a jury, we wouldn’t have him objectively dispassionately investigate anything, knowing what we now know. Why didn’t we know it ahead of time, and my last question, my final question — and I appreciate the Chairman’s patience — how would you help me answer that question when I go back to South Carolina this weekend?

Rosenstein: Congressman, first of all, with regard to the Special Counsel, Mr. Strzok was already working on the investigation when the Special Counsel was appointed. The appointment I made was of Robert Mueller. So what I’d recommend you tell your constituents is that Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein and Chris Wray are accountable and that we will ensure that no bias is reflected in any actions taken by the Special Counsel or any matter within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. When we have evidence of any inappropriate conduct, we’re going to take action on it. And that’s what Mr. Mueller did here as soon as he learned about this issue — he took action — and that’s what I anticipate the rest of our prosecutors, the new group of US Attorneys, our Justice Department appointees. They understand the rules and they understand the responsibility to defend the integrity of the Department. If they find evidence of improper conduct, they’re going to take action.

So Congressman, that’s the best assurance I can give you. But actually, there’s one other point, which is you should tell your constituents that we exposed this issue because we’re ensuring that the Inspector General conducts a thorough and effective investigation, and if there is any evidence of impropriety, he’s going to surface it and report about it publicly.

I actually think Rosenstein did a much better job than others apparently do, yesterday, at distinguishing between the Strzok texts (which apparently were on DOJ issued cell phones and, in spite of having Hillary investigation subject lines may not have been logged into Sentinel) and the political views of Andrew Weissmann or the past representation of Jeannie Rhee. Furthermore, he repeatedly said he would only fire Mueller for cause, and made it clear there had been no cause. Several times he talked about how closely he has worked with Mueller, such as on the scope of what gets included in his investigation (even while defending the charges against Manafort as appropriately included).

That said, I wonder how Rosenstein distinguishes, in his own mind, what he did in approving the release of the texts from an ongoing investigation and what Jim Comey did on July 5, 2016, when he gave a press conference about why Hillary Clinton had not been charged. While Rosenstein’s biggest complaint in his letter supporting the firing of Comey was that he substituted his decision for that of prosecutors, he also argued that the Department shouldn’t release derogatory information gratuitously.

Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.

In response to skeptical question at a congressional hearing, the Director defended his remarks by saying that his “goal was to say what is true. What did we do, what did we find, what do we think about it.” But the goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference. The goal is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a federal criminal prosecution, then allow a federal prosecutor who exercises authority delegated by the Attorney General to make a prosecutorial decision, and then – if prosecution is warranted – let the judge and jury determine the facts. We sometimes release information about closed investigations in appropriate ways, but the FBI does not do it sua sponte.

In some ways this is worse because of the off chance that Inspector General Michael Horowitz finds that these texts don’t merit some kind of response; the investigation is not finished yet.

That said, I actually do think there’s a difference: Strzok and Page are department employees, rather than subjects of an external investigation. DOJ exercises awesome power, and usually DOJ is releasing the texts of private citizens in this kind of embarrassing way.

Even former clearance holders seem surprised that these texts were discovered. It is unbelievable to me how few people understand the great liberty that counterintelligence investigators like Strzok can have in obtaining the communications of investigative targets like he has now become, particularly during leak or insider threat investigations. That may not be a good thing, but it is what other targets have been subjected to. So I think it reasonable to have FBI’s own subject to the same scrutiny, for better and worse.

I do think it worthwhile for DOJ to show that it will hold people accountable for improper actions.

Plus, aside from one August comment — which we may obtain more context on when Horowitz does finish this investigation — about an “insurance” policy against Trump, the texts simply aren’t that damning (though they do raise questions about Strzok’s role in the investigation). Strzok agrees with Rex Tillerson, after all, that Trump is an idiot.

So as far as that goes, I’m actually okay with Rosenstein’s release of these texts.

Except I worry about something else.

I actually worry less about Mueller getting fired than just about every other Trump opponent on the planet. Rosenstein seems intent to let him do his work, and (notably at several times during the hearing) seems to agree with the gravity of the investigation. Trump can’t get to Mueller without taking out Rosenstein (and Rachel Brand). And I actually think Rosenstein has thus far balanced the position of a Republican protecting a Republican from Republican ire fairly well. I expect the next shoes Mueller drops — whenever that happens — will change the tone dramatically.

What bothers me most about the release of these texts, however, is that they are a response to the same pressure that Comey was responding to (and which he thought he was smart enough to manage, just as Rosenstein surely thinks he can handle it here).

They are a response — from the same people who ran the Benghazi investigation then ignored DOJ’s prosecution of the Benghazi mastermind — to a willingness to challenge the very core of DOJ functionality, all in a bid to politicize it.

Perhaps Rosenstein is right to bide his time — to create space for Mueller to drop the next few shoes — with the release of the Strzok texts.

But at some point, Republicans need to start calling out Republicans for the damage they’re doing to rule of law with this constant playing of the refs, this demand for proof that Democrats aren’t getting some advantage through the rule of law. If those next shoes don’t have the effect I imagine, it may be too late.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

164 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    It reminds me of the kind of tension that that builds up when two countries have a diplomatic spat, either directly over espionage, or over other stuff where the response is to close facilities or expel spooks. Except here the stand-off is between two power blocs within a single country.

    So if Goodlatte and Nunes and the WH and the political appointees at DOJ are willing to put career FBI investigators out to dry for supposed conflicts of interest, the tit-for-tat instinct is to start asking about Rudy911’s relationship to the NYC office in October or other things related to the final chapters of the email saga in 2016. Treating investigators whose political opinions you find distasteful as if they’re spies of a foreign power is ultimately not healthy.

    • Franklin says:

      Except that, despite the anti-Trump camp’s insistence that this was about mere “political opinion,” we have at least one text that demonstrates a willingness to take action based on said political viewpoint. That’s what makes this whole saga so disturbing. It’s one thing for Strzok to say “f— Trump” it’s another thing altogether to talk about taking out “insurance policies” in McCabe’s office, or assuring his paramour that he has the means to “protect the country” from this Trumpian menace.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        I get it, you’re here to shit up the thread.

        A minuscule amount of internal comms from in/around the Fatty Dementia campaign has been made public; it’s almost all shady as shit. We have no idea what Rudy911 was hearing and from whom, though his attempts to explain himself were risible.

        “At least one text”? Well, let’s raise up the scaffolds! You’re extrapolating a cherry orchard from things cherry-picked for public consumption, and remarkably incurious about large undisclosed domains. How very Assange of you.

    • Silence Hand says:

      I think this is really astute.  Alas, I think your point got hijacked by the absurd foolishness of your first responder.  I really agree with you, and I think that the “mutually assured destruction” isn’t held over the congressional right wing heads enough on things like this.  They are whistling past the graveyard by assuming permanent majority status, and acting accordingly.

  2. Silence Hand says:

    1. “…the great liberty that counterintelligence investigators… have in obtaining the communications of investigative targets…”. Hey gander, how’s that goose sauce tasting?

    2. To me DOJ seems to be pulling a Brer Rabbit here, providing a nice thorny briar patch for the Benghazi contingent to throw them into. In the end this whole teapot-rocker bought Mueller more time (I think the triumph of sanity in Alabama helps that too, BTW).

    3. Hillary who?

    4. So, agents who express “private” opinions of public figures are now excluded from investigations of them, with all their work related to same retroactively disqualified. This is good, because we can now resume building underground arcologies in which agents are maintained in sealed glass-lined systems until needed.

    5. Of course, there really is no “private” opinion. So there.

    • Franklin says:

      About this “harmless opinion” thing that the Hillary campers keep tossing about: it’s one thing for some yahoo on a message board to spout off Trump hatred, it’s another thing altogether when an FBI agent of high standing does the same. Not all opinions matter equally, particularly when the holder has the means of the justice department at his disposal. That’s like saying it’s all the same whether the person who vehemently hates Russia works in a fast-food place, or at NORAD.

      • bmaz says:

        You’d be surprised at the spectrum of opinions that federal agents and DOJ attorneys have on their personal time. They are people, they are entitled to those opinions, and they sure have them. That is not only fine, it is protected by law and DOJ protocol. I have known countless – seriously, so many I can’t count – of them, and it was never this petty crap that bothered me. Never. It is how they conduct themselves doing their job that matters. Now, there are often problems about that. This is not that.

         

        • Franklin says:

          Ah yes, another of the “they’re entitled to their opinion” crowd speaks. Allow me to answer with the words of Chuck Grassley from the angry missive he just fired off to the DOJ:

          “Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.”

          So again, the “mere opinion” ploy won’t wash here. Because action, my friend, is NOT protected by DOJ protocol. And for you to say “this is not that” based on the insurance text alone, is frankly laughable.

           

          • bmaz says:

            Ah yes, another famous troll has reared his occasional head to prove he neither understands the First Amendment, nor anything about investigations, investigators, criminal law or the DOJ. But thanks for the right wing nutbaggery! It is swell!

            • Franklin says:

              Troll? More like a needed alternative to the Democrat shills like you who populate this site. Yes, I understand both the First Amendment and the way you’re using it to confine this to a free-speech debate so you can avoid the elephant in the room. Namely, that there appears to have been action taken on said political views.

              It’s not “nutbaggery” it’s fact that one text details the meeting in McCabe’s office with Strzok and Page to discuss some “insurance policy” against Trump. That puts things into conspiracy territory, whether you want to admit it or not. Something many of us want to know the details of, and rightly so.

              You want to go tinfoil, you might want to look into why spouse/Fusion GPS consultant Nellie Ohr decided she’d start communicating via HAM radio at about the same time said “insurance policy” was being taken out. So look into that, and spare me the MSNBC line of bullcrap.

              Later.

               

            • Franklin says:

              Ha ha could you have linked to a more hysterical Trump hating kind of site? Maybe language like this is a tip-off:

              “2/ True Pundit would quickly reveal itself as having the same agenda Trump Jr. had when he met with Kremlin agents on the day True Pundit launched: its mission would be to destroy Clinton’s candidacy by uncovering incriminating material about her—particularly via her emails.”

              Yeah, that nowhere meeting set up by that wacky music promoter sure was the kind of top-level operation Putin himself would’ve approved, huh? Here’s a better question: why don’t you look into the fact that both “Kremlin agents” were directly linked to Fusion GPS?

               

              • TGuerrant says:

                Get a blog, Franklin.  It’s free and you can love yourself on it every bit as much as Gorka loves himself when parking on a sidewalk.

                • Franklin says:

                  I like your attitude that if one doesn’t parrot the viewpoint of the “in” crowd here, one has no business even being on this site. It’s quite typical of the unfounded arrogance of the majority here. As to what “Gorka” has to do with anything but a misguided ad hom attack, I’ll happily leave that mystery unsolved.

        • Silence Hand says:

          First off, the agent/lawyer tete-a-tete is NOT the point at issue.  Mueller et al. released this person from the investigation half a year ago despite the agent’s apparent record of professionalism.  The matter is being dealt with through a pretty normal DOJ process.  End of story.  Sound and fury signifying nothing.  Grassley is gasping for air here.  Seriously, how does this little sideshow translate into anything impinging on the current work of the OSC?

          Whether entitled or not, agents are gonna express opinions, blab, boast, fantasize, and say funky stuff when blowing off steam in what they think is a totally private setting.  EW is right to point out the surveillance irony here.  Believe it or not, the Agency has a pretty robust internal mechanism to minimize the chance that such things actually translate into targeted official action.  This is a legacy from the seriously bad old days of Hoover, COINTELPRO, and things the broader culture will basically never forgive or forget.

          My great uncle was an FBI agent and said wilder stuff than this around us all the time, mostly generic racism and right wing bitching (this was back in the 70s), but I’m sure he’d have lost his job if he explicitly translated that into his operational work.   So, did the mouthy agent in this case actually do anything untoward?  That’s clearly being looked at, but again, how is this not fixed even in the worst case by the fact that this person has been off the investigation and organizing cleaning supplies since last July?

          Moreover, Franklin, I hope we’re prepared to deal with a serious can of worms if informal personal communications become public and actionable.  For example, what about Rudy’s little cadre of right-wing agents?  Do we get to read their PMs now?

          Overall, this is yet another version of the Benghazi hoedown, but I suspect it’ll go differently.  For now, at least, the Brer rabbit is doing just fine in the briar patch.

          • Franklin says:

            Yes, I know, the “Strzok had been released from the investigation long ago” talking point. But it’s not just the Trump investigation in question here, it’s the Clinton one — which Strzok was in for, for the duration. Which, given what we know about Strzok’s pro-Clinton zealotry, might have to be given a second look. (How this is a “sideshow” is beyond me.)

            Look, I get people have opinions, sometimes nasty ones, and if all Strzok had done was say “F— Trump” I wouldn’t be giving this thing a second look. But you all seem to miss the fact that he appears to have put thought into action, and deny it even though we have texts detailing a) a meeting in McCabe’s office to discuss setting up some “insurance policy” against Trump and b) Strzok’s white-knight complex driving him to discuss “protecting the country” from the dragon Trump with his paramour. I’m sorry, that puts things well beyond mere “opinion expressing” and if you can’t see that, I’m afraid you’ve rather blinded yourself to the facts.

            • Silence Hand says:

              This is the very definition of a sideshow.  Of course, once the Benghazi wackadoodles are all over this, Strzok will be transformed into some sort of puppetmaster, don’t you know, I mean, open your eyes sheeeple, yergleblergle.  That’s all fine, and they (and you) are welcome to it.

              It doesn’t change the point at issue:  Mueller et al. dumped Strzok from the investigative team many moons ago.  The whole thing is totally immaterial.  If you’ve going to go all “Guilt By Association” on this, please buy this book from Amazon first:

              https://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-Book-Bad-Arguments/dp/1615192255/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513275610&sr=8-1&keywords=illustrated+guide+to+bad+arguments

               

              • Franklin says:

                No, it’s you who’ve delved into sideshow territory. Again, Mueller didn’t dump Strzok from the Clinton email investigation, because he wasn’t around then. And sorry, the “another Benghazi” ploy won’t cut it, we have text evidence of everything I described. I’m afraid the “sheeple” here is you for clinging to the Democrat talking points you’ve been spewing.

                Also Strzok WAS a “puppet master” of the Clinton investigation, recall he was instrumental in getting the language changed to mere “carelessness.” So spare me this “sideshow” nonsense.

                Now, care to address Strzok’s texts about “insurance policies” and “protecting the country” or are you going to deflect to Amazon links again?

                 

                • pseudonymous in nc says:

                  Now, care to address Strzok’s texts about “insurance policies” and “protecting the country”…?

                  Sure, once we get a proper sense of what the CI component of the investigation was uncovering at that time. Or is your position that when non-public reactions to non-public information are selectively disclosed, they should be evaluated solely on what’s publicly known?

                  • Franklin says:

                    Gee, and just when do you expect to learn such sensitive information? My guess is never, and so it makes a really swell sounding reason to avoid answering my questions. Nicely played deflection.

                    • pseudonymous in nc says:

                      That was the soft thwack of you (badly) doing the deflecting.

                      When non-public reactions to non-public information are selectively disclosed, it it your position that they should be evaluated solely on what’s publicly known?

                • Silence Hand says:

                  Ah, the dreaded “I know you are but what am I” defense.

                  As predicted, prior to any actual investigative process and actual public release of the full context of the messages, Strzok’s now an evil puppeteer, malevolently thumbing out diabolical plans to his …mistress?  Like a Bond villain?  Hmmm.  Okaaay.

                  See, this is the stuff that wacky conspiracy theories are made from.  The AG will conclude a measured investigation in Spring or so, and of course if it doesn’t fit your narrative it’ll be “rigged”.   Meanwhile – nothingburger for the Mueller investigation.

                  The purpose here, though, is to deeply smear the FBI and sow doubt about the conclusions of Mueller’s investigation.  That is pretty sick.

                  • Franklin says:

                    And again you reach for the trusty talking point “you’re attacking Mueller’s investigation!!!” the argumentative equivalent of “you don’t support the troops!”

                    Likewise you paint anyone who doesn’t share your point of view a tinfoil hatter. No one’s said Strzok is Dr. Evil pulling strings, but you’re up against the FACT that Strzok was caught indeed texting his Trump hatred out to his mistress. Meaning at the very least he was in no frame of mind to be “objective” about any Trump investigation. Not to mention Strzok and said mistress were discussing actions to be taken, the fact you keep avoiding at all costs.

                    Thanks though, for reading my mind and predicting how I’ll react when the spring report comes out. You’re amazing!

                     

                    • Silence Hand says:

                      “You’re amazing!”

                      Yes!  Now we’re finally getting somewhere.

                      Seriously, dude, your goalposts are comically motorized.  Kindly read back over your posts to discern how you’re conflating Mueller’s investigation of Trump et al.’s potentially criminal conspiracy with imagined Clinton investigation shenanigans.  As someone who cares not a whit about the Clintons, it always amazes me the extent to which they inspire obsession and derangement.  It’ll be good to see them off the stage, if only to be rid of that.  Whatever will you do at that point?  I’ve now gone over past threads you’ve been on, and I’d suggest the routine’s getting a bit musty.  As in, get a life.

        • lefty665 says:

          bmaz, you are absolutely right, personal opinions are just that, personal and protected. However, using Federal resources to propagate personal political opinions, apparently phones in this case, crosses a line. I suppose I should be shocked, shocked I tell you, but somehow I’m not. The Hatch Act is about preventing partisan political activities/pressure in the Federal workplace. Use of Federal resources in a partisan manner, as here, falls under those prohibitions.

          The opinions Strzok and Page exchanged are unfortunately congruent with Comey’s declarations that Hillary committed crimes with her email operation but declined to prosecute because he found no intent. The next stage of the investigation would seem likely to be to determine if there is evidence Strzok or Page implemented their personal political beliefs as official acts beyond talking about them on Gov’t equipment.

          • Silence Hand says:

            This is precisely what’s happening, and it’s appropriate.  The point at issue is that these two have had no association with Mueller’s office since July.  It’s worth wondering if they’d even be receiving such scrutiny had they not been removed.  At this stage, it scarcely matters if they were plotting to overthrow the government.

            It’s shocking to me that the GOP and the right wing are so totally willing to discount due process and rule of law.  In fact, “Deep State” simply = “rule of law”.

            • Franklin says:

              You’ve all seemed to overlook the fact that this isn’t just about Strzok being removed — it’s about Mueller’s staff blatantly ignoring Congress’s demand to know why Strzok was removed. So we’re into cover-up territory now, too.

              And Mueller wasn’t overseeing the Clinton investigation, Strzok was. And if we discover that Strzok’s politics played at all into the decision not to charge her with negligence, then that would be the opposite of “rule of law” now wouldn’t it?

              • SpaceLifeForm says:

                Believe 12333 overrides FISA oversight.

                There is a reason why Congress is not getting all of the info. Think leaks.

                • Franklin says:

                  Hope you’re not trying to claim “classified!” or something here. Fact is, Congress has a right to every bit of info they’ve requested. The suggestions from FBI brass to the contrary are ridiculous.

                • Silence Hand says:

                  This is correct.  Independent counsel is precisely that, and they’re on firm ground here.  Franklin’s arguments over the thread (and others I’ve since read) are scattershot and poorly reasoned.

  3. Franklin says:

    So texts “aren’t that damning” that show the pro-Hillary anti-Trump zealotry of the agent largely responsible for seeing to it that Clinton faced no criminal charges in her email investigation, as well as pushed to open an investigation on Trump? Really?

  4. Jim White says:

    Okay, I’m going to be a little dense here. Are we talking about emails only, texts and emails or texts only? Because, at least when I’m texting, I never see texts with subject lines, while emails of course always do. The USA Today link says it was a dump of emails. So we are talking about the text inside the emails, then, with no text messages included?

      • greengiant says:

        Ah yes Handel,  from the April election in GA where “no one” attained a 50 percent majority.  A place where the election officials counted over a thousand ballots cast for GA06 from a precinct in which no votes could be cast for GA06 because they only had ballots for SS32 and could only vote for SS32.  Too bad about the state election server and backup bleach later on.

  5. orionATL says:

    well, look at it this way.

    “it” is democratic partisans working in the doj/fbi environment and participating in at least a part of an investigation of russian influence on the federal elections of 2016 for president and congress. notice the long description of the task.

    now note that what republican congresspossums are doing is a focused effort on only a part of that task, to protect their republican presidential leader from any consequences of this special (mueller) doj/fbi investigation. they don’t seem to care if dem doj partisans are included in the long task – any russian election shenanigans. they only fear that leader trump might be charged by mueller. thus the attack on two foolish dem-leaning lovers who exchanged personal info on official stationary.

    consider the absurdity, the very absurdity, of this very noisy republican charge of bias against doj, and implicitly, mueller’s team.:

    trump appointed one of the two most senior of his campaign advisors, sen. jeff sessions, as attorney general. the prez did this deliberately to protect himself from legal challenge. all (sensible) presidents do this.

    in the case of sessions, though, there is increasing reason to believe that during or after the campaign sessions was heavily involved directly with or had knowledge of others heavily involved with russians working against democratic candidates, or, after the election, working to subvert obama admin sanctions on russians for their influence on the election.

    in short, republican president trump appointed as his attorney general republican sen. sessions who was not only a partisan, but a key player in a presidential campaign that had multiple undisclosed contacts with russians prior to trumps’s inauguration – which falls under the subject of mueller’s investigation. . further, sen. sessions repeatedly lied to congress about his contacts with russians, as did senior advisor and republican partisan jared kushner and other republican partisan staff.

    and of course, republican rosenstein, republican wray, republican mueller. l!

      • orionATL says:

        you know, i think there’s a lot to what you say.

        i think trump’s performance as prez is a direct function of his business life. i suspect he spent that time doing things “the new york developer way” which i take to mean political contributions, bribes, law suits, and mafia contacts. and underlying it all, persistent puffery, lying, deceit, and fraud, particularly with respect to his casinos.

        trump is at a loss as to how to work in the environment that politicians and government officials routinely learn to work in where you can never have it all, give-and-take is essential.

        certainly trump has a long history with, e. g., sater, the russian mafia, and russian money laundering using u. s. real estate.

        • Franklin says:

          I think you spelled “the Clinton Foundation way” wrong. Otherwise you’re right on target with the “political contributions, bribes, law suits, and mafia contacts and underlying it all, persistent puffery, lying, deceit, and fraud” part.

        • Silence Hand says:

          Yes.  Moreover, he simply can’t comprehend the existence of strong cultural norms and actual binding legal protocols reinforcing the idea that people in gov’t serve the public interest first.  Thus, he attacks these norms and protocols, and reflexively ridicules people who hew to them.  It’s all about loyalty.  After all, what underlies Comey’s firing, his scorn for Sessions, his hatred for Mueller, on and on.  All because they’re not treating him as the Don.

          Just imagine if Trump prevails and normalizes the corporate mafia style of governance. We can justifiably complain about various Clinton/Bush/Obama/Reagan failings (and should), but if that happens we’re in for something like a new dark ages.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Current Goopers demanding a federal criminal investigation into whether, with no apparent probable cause, currently supine Dems obtained some small advantage they haven’t apparently used to their advantage.  Cooking the history books as well as the referees.

    Will the Democrats ever recognize that they are being gamed in a big way?  In pretty much the same way that neoliberal ideologues and billionaires convince the have nots to argue with each other – and especially with immigrants – instead of assessing and effectively challenging those same billionaires and hundred millionaires.

    The latter represent stateless wealth, willing to corrupt any state in order to protect and expand their wealth.  The goodies they want they can obtain from anywhere, regardless of cost.  What they cannot seem to abide is any government imposing costs on them to pay for the general welfare.  They want that and all its protections and productivity, most of which they arrogate to themselves, for nuffin’. In fact, in imitation of earlier Robber Barons, they want the general welfare to pay them.

  7. Franklin says:

    This isn’t just about the texts (and I’m surprised emptywheel hasn’t picked up on this) it’s also about HOW the texts were sent.

    Let’s see, an adulterous lead FBI investigator communicates with the FBI lawyer he’s having the affair with, via a dedicated secret phone they’re using exclusively to talk about Hillary Clinton in secret. They’re using said phone because in their words “it can’t be traced.” The FBI agent, btw, just happens to be leading the Clinton email investigation, as a matter of fact. And has expressed a devotion to her candidacy that borders on zealous.

    Never mind that this tale would be improbable fodder for a spy novel, it actually happened. And yet we have the Democrat machine telling us there’s nothing to see here, after all, everyone including FBI types are entitled to their own political views. Pay no mind, this is all a distraction hatched by the Trump team and its conservative media allies to “attack the Mueller investigation.”

    And they wonder why some of us laugh.

      • Franklin says:

        Sure you’ll laugh, as people do when they can’t challenge a single fact that’s been presented. Wanna deny anything I’ve written in paragraph two? And if not, you wanna explain the need to use that secret Get Smart Secret Agent Spy phone those two used to talk about Hillary? Or why they felt the need to hide their conversations from everyone? At the same time Strzok was leading that supposedly “objective” investigation of Hillary? Go ahead, funny boy, let’s hear it. And the same goes for your buddy who posted an equally meaningless response below.

        • orionATL says:

          franklin,

          here’s what i want, blowhard.

          i want you to produce the exact and entire text of the specific emails that support your assertion, made multiple times here (see below), of “actionable” vs speech. i want to read these myself and judge for myself. i suspect there was no “actionable” matter or this situation would have been dealt with differently.

          “… . It’s one thing for Strzok to say “f— Trump” it’s another thing altogether to talk about taking out “insurance policies” in McCabe’s office, or assuring his paramour that he has the means to “protect the country” from this Trumpian menace….”

          and

          “… “Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.”

          “… So again, the “mere opinion” ploy won’t wash here. Because action, my friend, is NOT protected by DOJ protocol… ”

          and

          “… It’s not “nutbaggery” it’s fact that one text details the meeting in McCabe’s office with Strzok and Page to discuss some “insurance policy” against Trump. That puts things into conspiracy territory, whether you want to admit it or not…. ”

          and

          “… But you all seem to miss the fact that he appears to have put thought into action, and deny it even though we have texts detailing a) a meeting in McCabe’s office to discuss setting up some “insurance policy” against Trump and b) Strzok’s white-knight complex driving him to discuss “protecting the country” from the dragon Trump with his paramour. I’m sorry, that puts things well beyond mere “opinion expressing” and if you can’t see that, “…”

          produce the emails, franklin!

          we want to be able to read and judge for ourselves rather than listen to your fevered, repetitive honking.

          • Franklin says:

            Gosh aren’t YOU the demanding little one… you know, I really have to wonder if most of you here haven’t actually read these texts, or have and are just pretending you haven’t so you can ignore the obvious. ‘cuz I gotta tell ya, you guys sound REAL uninformed about things.

            First the bit about the ‘insurance policy’ meeting:

            ‘Later in a text from August 15, 2016, Strzok tells Page: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office” — an apparent reference to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — “that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40 . . . . ” http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/12/politics/peter-strzok-texts-released/index.html It’s over.

            Yes, no evidence of anything “actionable” being discussed here right? Just a lead agent, supervisor and lawyer shooting the breeze about their “political opinions” that you’re all constantly reminding us they’re SO entitled to have. Still, you might want to ask yourself just how they were going to avoid facing that “risk” they were so obviously worried about here.

            Here’s where Sir Strzoksalot declares his quest:

            ‘In one exchange from August 2016, the FBI’s Lisa Page forwarded a Donald Trump-related article to Peter Strzok, writing: “And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.”

            He responded: “Thanks. It’s absolutely true that we’re both very fortunate. And of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels,

            http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/13/texts-show-fbi-agents-fuming-over-trump-protect-country-from-that-menace.html

            Yes, thanks to our noble knight the country will be protected from this Trumpian menace! Question is, just how did he plan to carry out his quest?

            Oh and here’s the part where they plot out getting that secret phone so they can talk about their crush Hillary in secret:

            “Also in March, Page seems to be concerned about whether the things they say about Mr. Trump can be found out. “So look, you say we can text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it cant be traced,” she wrote.”
            https://www.cbsnews.com/news/peter-strzok-lisa-page-texts-trump-idiot/

            Yep, can’t be traced, cool! Now you wanna explain just why they feel the need for such secrecy?

            So there you have them, smart guy. Any further questions?

             

             

             

            • orionATL says:

              thanks for the response, franklin.

              i asked you to provide a copy of the original emails – the entire text of each one you cite from. the short quotations from news media you provided are inadequate.

              you did not provide the full emails. without that complete text there is no way to determine if your tedious, endlessly repetitive assertion of “actionable” behavior is reasonable or not.

              your failure to provide strong evidence for your interpretation of the strozok comments demonstrated what i suspected to be the case:

              you are a great, honking blowhard who has done nothing but read the same news stories the rest of us have. then you have insisted on repeatedly citing the same favorite quote or two from those news stories (not the originals). then from those few quotes, you’ve concocted some legal sounding gobbledigook about “actionable” and an anti-trump conspiracy.

              put down language of the sort you use is the best sign of an out-of-his-depth troll trying to avoid defending his argument with solid evidence.

              you are just such a troll.

              put up the documents, troll, so we can judge the quality of your argument.

              • Franklin says:

                Spare me the b.s. I posted you the exact words of Strzok, that supported each of the claims I made. To which you’ve now spewed out about a thousand or so words of blowhard to avoid admitting. Those “short quotes” go right to the point and make said points better than any longer texts ever could.

                I’m not just picking out random quotes from news stories, I’m picking out the exact words that prove my points. A fact which you won’t address. Do you deny the “insurance policy” quote indicates some action being planned rather than just statement of political viewpoint? Likewise, the text where Strzok and his lover talk about the quest to protect the country — it’s not just expressing political views, which has been my point all along? Did I not totally support my argument thusly? How about YOU answer and do something as requested for a change, rather than just issuing orders?

                And just who in the heck do you think you are to demand this long list of stuff from me? I’m sorry you have such an inflated ego, but sorry, your demands are laughable.

                “Troll”? I’m afraid that better describes you based on your ad hom-laced bluster and deflection.

                 

                • Franklin says:

                  p.s. First of all they’re texts I’ve referred to, not emails, so you’re screwed up from the get-go. Most are quoted in entirety or close to it. Second, do we really need longer quotes to know that there was action intended and being planned (and not just political views being expressed)? Think about it.

                • orionATL says:

                  franklin –

                  quit ducking and dodging.

                  produce the email/sms documents containing the text you repeatedly cite in your assertions, e. g., “actionable”.

                  taking brief quotes from media, e. g., cnn, reports does not allow others to see the context of the specific quotes.

                  we see honking blowhards like you come and go here. they always have a conspiracy to see. i ain’t buying.

                  produce the documents.

                  • Franklin says:

                    Do you know what a text is?

                    Do you own a smart phone?

                    Are you this stupid?

                    Again, there are no emails, Strzok and Page communicated by text. And what I quoted captured their brief exchanges, certainly enough to see that there was action being contemplated, not just expression of political views. So the rest is just you hiding behind the old “I need context” excuse because you find the truth incompatible with your viewpoint.

                    Sorry, your stall tactic won’t work anymore. Time for you to address what I quoted you from Strzok and Page. Time to man up here and stop hiding.

                     

                     

                    • Silence Hand says:

                      Hey, Franklin, looks like your CAPS LOCK button is not functioning.  Might want to get that checked out.  The spittle-flecked aspect of your discourse isn’t quite what it could be.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        Citizen bmaz, I have been reading this site since FDL went down and must say it is my go to everyday. I am, however, surprised at the level of tolerance here for trolls and fascist bots. I guess I am also surprised that most of the trolls here can complete a sentence without morphing into entire sections of “Mein Kampf”. Thanks bmaz.

         

        • Franklin says:

          So Clinton bots are now capable of being programmed to compliment each other’s posts. Impressive. Gosh which of his witty retorts impressed you most — “I laughed” or “you’re a clown”?

            • Franklin says:

              Yeah that tired old superfluous “troll! fascist!” shot that Norskie took at me wasn’t in the shiny distraction category now, was it? Nice how selective your dragonfly! pronouncements are.

              • Silence Hand says:

                Actually, you get the statement wrong.  When evoked, generally in response to the most recent comment, the dragonfly applies to all thread participants.  At least where I’m from.

          • NorskieFlamethrower says:

            Go back under the bridge with your signed copy of “Mein Kampf”, relax, take a couple of deep breaths and then stop breathing for a few minutes. That should help whatever it is that has caused your brain to malfunction.  But then maybe getting your head out of your ass might be easier than learning how to read.

      • Franklin says:

        It’s not my “opinion” that the two were communicating secretly about Hillary and feeling the need to hide it, it’s fact. And I drew no conclusions, except the obvious one that it’s laughable for anyone to act like this was just about “rights to have political opinions” or whatever nonsense is being used to say “nothing to see here.” You wanna try addressing this, or you gonna post another video instead of actually saying anything?

        • Silence Hand says:

          Actually, your opinion is that this is in any way relevant to Mueller’s investigation, or this thread, or anything that The Dude cares about.

          If GOP’s increasingly desperate effort to sink the investigation is reduced to hyperventilating about some non-associated agents electronic pillow talk, then things really are getting bad for them (and, I surmise, you).

          And, you’re committing a classic “burden of proof” fallacy. I don’t gotta disprove any of your wacky assertions, chief. The burden’s on you, and you ain’t lifting. In fact, the FBI AG is investigating the matter and will do so over the next few months.

          • Franklin says:

            Actually the fallacies are all yours, based on the faulty assumption I’m shilling for the GOP, or playing this game where you claim expressing a curiosity about Clinton’s email probe somehow equals an attack on Mueller’s investigation.

            Also there’s nothing for me to “prove” Strzok’s own texts do that for me. Again, you’re just denying facts here, in this case with cute movie references. Believe me, it doesn’t help.

            • Silence Hand says:

              Uh, nope.  However, it seems to me you’re willing to state that this whole agent-lawyer texty-texty thing has nothing to do with Mueller’s investigation.  Which is progress, and very much not what today’s little committee meeting was about.

            • orionATL says:

              franklin –

              “… Also there’s nothing for me to “prove” Strzok’s own texts do that for me. Again, you’re just denying facts here, in this case with cute movie references. Believe me, it doesn’t help….”

              oh, franklin. what a pious bullshit artist you are.

              of course there are things you must prove. but you have not proved a one, not a single one, in all the entries you’ve made here.

              you have merely made one or two assertions over and over and over again, asserting your personal opinion based on tiny snippets from media sources as if they were magical incantations.

              quit ducking and dodging, franklin.

              provide the full texts of emails/sms docs so others here, and you, can evaluate strozok’s comments in context.

              • Franklin says:

                I’ve made assertions backed up by Strzok’s words. In return you’ve given me bluster and stall tactics to avoid facing truths you find inconvenient. I’m finished with your bullcrap. Over and out.

        • zonefreezone says:

          Franklin  – have you posted here much?

          I have not. But I do follow the discussions here regularly; I admire your dogged  resilience in engaging. Rationality is futile here. It’s a shame because the issues are so stimulating and important.

          When your counterparts are in the “Goopers”, “congresspossums” and “nutbaggery” school of discourse why waste your energy.

           

           

           

           

           

           

          • Franklin says:

            zonefree — no I haven’t but I’ve gotten to the point where I think it necessary to provide some balance to the wingnut Never-Trumpers who infest these boards with their DNC talking-point drivel. It is a bit of a shame though, that such an informative site is dragged down by those who share one theory to explain everything and search for “facts” to confirm their bias.

            The “dragonfly!” school of “debate” is nothing I haven’t discovered elsewhere on the ‘net, so no worries. In fact it only adds to the entertainment as I watch each poster avoid addressing my points with their bluster.

            Thanks for the shout-out.

            • bell says:

              franklin – you’re a breathe of fresh air here at ew.. at one time i used to enjoy visiting ew’s  site – many years ago, but along the line it changed.. thanks for your intelligent and informative on topic comments..

              • Franklin says:

                Thanks bell, I can see why you might be discouraged by the collection of deep-state apologists, Never Trumpers and butthurt Hillary voters that infests these boards. I find it amusing that the same people who type “Trump is a Russian asset” with a straight face will turn around and accuse the other guy of “nutbaggery.”

                Oh well, chin up and and as a wise man once said “illegitimi non carborudum” or something like that.

            • orionATL says:

              franklin –

              “… in fact it only adds to the entertainment as I watch each poster avoid addressing my points with their bluster…”

              quit ducking and dodging, franklin. produce the documents that give context and support your interpretation of short snippets from cnn, etc.

          • Silence Hand says:

            Franklin is being completely obtuse, some think on purpose. My view was that s/he is repeating a vapid and totally irrelevant argument without realizing that’s what’s going on.  I’m new here, though, so I’m beginning to lean towards the former.  Other posters whose work I’ve reviewed and appreciate as rational are showing exasperation.  I’m probably “feeding the trolls”, which is kind of dumb.

            His or her argument is that the agent / lawyer who sent text messages etc that the Rs are flogging so hard somehow raise concerns about Mueller’s work.  This is clearly specious; the agents were reassigned from the probe back in July, among many other reasons that this is a total non issue.  Somehow the Clinton investigation matters here for reasons that are only clear to Franklin.

            • Franklin says:

              You see what it’s like to be misquoted and misrepresented? Please show me anywhere on this page I’ve called out or even mentioned Mueller’s investigation. No, what’s going on here is that Silence Hand is “flogging” the Dem talking point that if you dare point out how bad Strzok’s texts look, you must be “attacking Mueller!!!!!” Talk about “specious” this disconnected line of garbage takes the cake.

              Well let’s see, Strzok was only lead investigator in the Clinton email case, what on earth does the Clinton probe have to do with anything? I really wish you characters would read what you wrote, I promise you’d get the same laugh I do.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yeah, god forbid that federal law enforcement personnel should have personal opinions and – gasp – share them with each other. What would we have learned from texts and phone calls shared among Bush/Cheney era OLC staff, or OPR staff, or Gonzales’s direct reports.  Or have I forgotten that Republicans and fundamentalists regard hypocrisy as a sacrament?

      Ironic, too, that the majority of law enforcement hold conservative opinions and are often Republican, like Mueller.  Mueller, however, as he seems to have done his entire life, did the right thing.  When made aware of an impropriety that could lead to an appearance of impropriety or the fact, he fixed it.

      That’s not something one could say of this White House or Republican Congress.  The White House, in particular, doubles down on Hillary distractions whenever its own problems bubble near the surface.  One could be forgiven for thinking that Donald Trump is more convinced than anyone that his election was illegitimate.

       

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        A Harvardian would have said, “Illegitimum non carborundum“, a parody of a collegiate fight song from someone showing off in hopes of making the Crimson as well as beating Yale.  A Princeton theology student familiar with the phrase probably lived in Hodge Hall.

        Vinegar Joe Stillwell would have said, “Illegitimi non carborundum”.  He and the Harvardians would have known it was mock Latin, loosely meaning, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”  Stillwell needed to remind himself of that repeatedly when dealing with the reactionary corrupt warlord, Chiang Kai-shek, and his Republican fans back home.

        Fans of Margaret Atwood or Terry Pratchett might recognize variants of it, as would John Boehner, who for some unexplained reason had the mock motto on his desk.   But “illegitimi non carborudum” misses the mark, even in parody.  It fits right in.

         

        • Franklin says:

          Well thanks, Sir Windbag, for that instructive and not at all pedantic linguistic exposition. I notice however you left out the “or something like that” part of my post, a short yet obviously vital part of the remark. Some of a suspicious bent might accuse you of lying by omission, but I’m certain you’re of such obvious moral superiority you’re beyond such baseness of deed.

          And I thank you for not only once, but twice, pointing out my garden-variety typo, to which, you must now ask yourself: “was it done by design or by accident?” Perhaps when you emerge from your cavern of self-satisfaction, you might realize there could’ve have been a reason for the exclusion of the letter in question, one that goes beyond your capability of comprehension. I’ll leave you that Sphinxian riddle to ponder.

          Also are you suggesting only Harvard types or famed military men may employ the phrase? As in, Lord forbid that a graduate of Towson State or the University of Florida ever quote it? Just wondering.

           

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            “Or something like that”, a phrase that substitutes for about three minutes of work.  Similar to, “It’s been reported….” or “Just passing on rumors….” or the more familiar Trumpian phrase, “I did it on purpose.”

            I don’t care whether or where you went to school.  Apart from smug Harvardians, iconoclastic WW2 generals, and first-rate writers and songsters, anybody can use a common phrase if they use it correctly.  Even John Boehner used it to assume undeserved victimhood, false victimhood being something of a GOP staple.  Most of them even understood it, which is helpful when using words.

            Enjoy your stay.  Don’t give up your day job.

             

            • orionATL says:

              i did not say all the documents. i specified only the few documents containing the quotes franklin used repeatedly – repeatedly – thruout his long yowl about “actionable” and related conspiracy ideas.

              without those document’s none of us can determine if franklin has interpreted strozok/page accurately or fairly. nor can he know that.

              you don’t get a free pass here, franklin, making casual assertions about important matters based on snippets of documents.

  8. Watson says:

    Repubs are claiming, and law-enforcement icon Mueller apparently agrees, that the Trump investigation was prejudiced by the personal views of FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page as revealed in their texts/emails.
     
    So henceforward, criminal defendants should be allowed discovery of all the personal comms of any police or FBI agents involved in the investigation of their cases.

  9. greengiant says:

    Insurance policy?  Now what possibly could that be? Trump Russian Mafia NYPD FBI revolving door?  Sealed court rulings on the never to be indicted Trump, Sater and? Oligarch funding of entire GOP congress? And all this before Putin’s body count hockey sticked. It is a strange world where it is Steve Bannon and the racist, pedophile, misogynist, sexist, no taxes for the rich who have breathed life back into the Democratic party.

  10. GKJames says:

    @Franklin Is your point that the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Clinton is all Strzok’s doing? Given the number of people involved in the investigation, is it even possible that one person with a purported agenda was able to determine its outcome? If your answer is yes, the FBI has a far bigger problem than one guy’s (evidence-based) view that Trump’s an idiot and a menace, and that Clinton isn’t. If it’s no, why does it matter? Isn’t it Comey who made the final decision in any event? And would your concern over the alleged lack of virtue at the FBI be the same if Clinton HAD been indicted?

    • Franklin says:

      re: Strzok, no not at all saying it was all his doing, though he was lead investigator and one of a select few who drafted the infamous language change that resulted in mere “carelessness.” And I suspect Comey may have relied primarily if not exclusively on what was furnished him by this select few in reaching his own decision not to bring charges.

      As for your implication that I’d judge the bureau on whether or not they indicted Clinton I can tell you I never questioned their decision until this latest news of bias came out.

       

      • greengiant says:

        Franklin,  you have not read the composer’s name on the script you are playing? Such plagiarism is a failure akin to self tattooing “Shyte for brains” on your forehead and is an insult to the site and readership.

      • GKJames says:

        On what facts do you conclude that Comey relied “primarily if not exclusively” on Strzok’s characterization? And even if he did: You intend the great (if not all) the weight you give to the “infamous language change” to serve as proof that, because of Strzok’s bias, the Clinton investigation itself is illegitimate. But that overlooks (i) the original sin, i.e., Choirboy Comey’s insistence on making the statement in the first place when it would have been appropriate to say nothing beyond, The FBI has no evidence that warrants prosecution; and (ii) the fact that the statement was a political, not investigatory act. Comey felt compelled to toss a bone to two howling-for-blood audiences: Republicans on the Hill characteristically hysterical about being bested by a girl, and Comey’s boys in SDNY who loathed Clinton, wanted her indicted and, gutless as they are, undermined HQ through leaks and threatened to leak more (hence, Comey’s October surprise). In other words, the statement and the language in it were about Comey’s self-absorption with his reputation, not about Clinton or the investigation of her. What you deem evidence of wrongdoing as it relates to that investigation is in fact nothing more than political theater.

        None of this is to say, of course, that Strzok isn’t an idiot, too. (Takes one to know one, I guess.) What recent disclosures have done is give ammunition to people who have always had it in for Clinton. But that ammunition isn’t the same thing as the conclusion that, but for Strzok’s alleged bias, the outcome of the Clinton investigation would’ve been different.

        • GKJames says:

          And, I forgot to add, that the manufactured outrage over Strzok is also part of the concerted Republican effort to delegitimize Mueller and bail out the president.

          • Silence Hand says:

            YES.  My sense is that Rosenstein et al have a suitable vanadium steel teapot ready to contain it.  Let them rage; the agent was reassigned back in July, in an act of prudence clearly born of hard experience.

          • Franklin says:

            No GK, it’s more like some loud braying from a bunch of Trump haters who don’t like the suddenly inconvenient counter-narrative turn of events in their sacred Mueller investigation. So they label anyone who points out how obviously bad the Strzok texts look (for both the Hillary and the Trump investigations) as a “Mueller attacker!!!!” a strategy straight from the Democrat talking points factory. It’s really as simple as that.

            • GKJames says:

              Am still none the wiser as to what you want to happen. Are you asking for an investigation of Strzok? An investigation of Mueller? An end to Mueller’s investigation? Didn’t Strzok’s prompt dismissal from the Mueller investigation cure the problem of Strzok’s bias? And didn’t Clinton’s defeat do the same thing? Whatever it was that Strzok was up to in trying to deny Trump the White House, it didn’t work. As for something looking “obviously bad,” would you agree that the Trump campaign / Russian connection also looks “obviously bad”? With respect to “Trump haters,” surely you’re not shocked by this reaction to someone whose entire political identity IS a non-stop process of causing offense — for no discernible, non-pathological reason, let alone benefit to the public as a whole. It’s why you voted for him; seems a bit rich, then, to complain about the backlash.

      • orionATL says:

        franklin –

        “… As for your implication that I’d judge the bureau on whether or not they indicted Clinton I can tell you I never questioned their decision until this latest news of bias came out…”

        what horseshit, franklin. there is not a chance in hell the idea that a guy who has written as obsessively and critically as you have here today was just okydokey neutral with fbi/clinton until you read the strozok quotes in the press.

        four wooden heads for franklin. 💂💂💂💂

          • orionATL says:

            franklin –

            “… Wow, all that intelligence AND you’re a mind reader!…”

            what a blundering, silly comment.

            i didn’t have to read any minds, franklin, not one.

            i only needed to read your endlessly repetitive comments here, unsupported by anything but your skewed opinions and tiny media quotes.

            quit ducking and dodging, franklin.

            produce the texts of the strozok emails/sms, franklin.

            these will give all readers here a much needed wider context to view your repeated accusations and conspiracy imaginings.

            • bell says:

              orionATL – a budding blundering bmaz bully on training wheels, lol…keep on studying with the master kid…

               

              • orionATL says:

                bell –

                “…December 14, 2017 at 10:23 pm

                orionATL – a budding blundering bmaz bully on training wheels, lol…keep on studying with the master kid…”

                what an inane comment, bell, full of psuedo-clever troll’s alliteration.

                i have not bullied anyone here. what i have done is to demand critical missing docs.

                that you would term that” bullying” is nor surprising. you are deeply afraid of demands for solid arguments.

                the key point, bell, is that trolls write just like you have here. they do not address issues directly, as you have not addressed them here.

                they use, among other tools, including adolescent sarcasm of the sort you have used here.

                that a deeply embedded russian apologist like you would show up here is unsurprising.

                what we need to know are your political affiliations in canada and in russia.

                tell us about those russian-biased political affiliations, bell.

                • bell says:

                  orionATL, when a poster keeps on saying “quit ducking and dodging” to another poster however many zillion times – that is not rational… it’s bullying as i see it..

                  as for my russian connections.. i must have them, just as the mueller investigation must find them, or there are going to be a lot of disappointed clinton fans…

                  now for something relevant..  it is a speech given to the national press club about a week ago.. the usa seems to have fallen into a hole and i am not sure it is going to be able to get out… it has little to do with canada or russia fwiw and much to do with what is happening in the usa today…    – DOES THE UNITED STATES HAVE A FUTURE?  

            • Franklin says:

              Yeah as if anyone has access to that stuff outside of the FBI.

              Nice straw man task you set up there to avoid facing what you read from Strzok.

              Truth hurts huh?

               

              • orionATL says:

                franklin –

                not a straw man at all, franklin – ducker and dodger.

                produce the texts that will give a complete context to your charges of “actionable”, etc.

                furthermore, what you just wrote proves that you know nothing more than news snippets of the details of the strozok/page correspondence you have been honking about. you’ve proved yourself likely just another trump loyalist searching for any exculpation or diversion from mueller’s focus on our incompetent and possibly law-breaking president.

                do you by any chance remember republican devotion to “the rule of law” back in say, 1996, frsnklin?

                that phrase was a big mantra among republicans then – remember? house of reps judiciary chairman henry hyde was especially fond of this quote. this is the same henry hyde who a decade later did time and paid fine for sexual moleststion – remember?

                • Franklin says:

                  And after all the lecturing I’ve heard here about going off topic, orion deflects to… SEXUAL MOLESTATION!!!! Ha ha you hypocrites here are too much.

                  You gotta get off this “news snippets” thing the fact is, I’ve quoted you entire texts as quoted by said news articles. But since you can’t face the truth, you move the goal posts to “well get me all the documents!” What “documents” orion are you talking about? For the 40th time, these communications are done via a smart phone, what do you want me to do, go steal Strzok’s phone? What’s hilarious is you’re obviously desperately clinging to your hope for some other miracle text he might’ve sent that somehow negates the ones quoted — as if there’s going to be one that says “hey you know all that stuff I said about Trump and stopping him? Psych! I was just kidding! Ignore all that other stuff. I’m a totally objective agent just doing my job objectively!!!”

                  Stop it already — we know from the one text Strzok, his lover and McCabe met in his office to discuss ‘insurance policies’ against Trump. That’s all we need to know that there was ACTION contemplated, no further “context” needed.

                  Pray tell orion, how has bell been a “Russian apologist”? Has he led cheers for Putin or something? Or is it that he just doesn’t go along with the typical CrowdStrike-dictated narrative here most of you have swallowed? Which seems enough to get you labeled an agent of the Kremlin by the drones here.

                  • orionATL says:

                    franklin –

                    you’re still ducking and dodging. you’re still playing in games with words.

                    as i’ve pressed you on the giant hole in your argument, you have begun moving toward being troll instead of commenter.

                    this is a flagrantly dishonest statement:

                    “… You gotta get off this “news snippets” thing the fact is, I’ve quoted you entire texts as quoted by said news articles….”

                    you twist words.

                    you have only quoted snippets from news articles, which may include the reporters words too.

                    those snippets are tiny pieces of emails/texts. until we see the entire text there is no reason to trust your interpretation.

                    that you do not know or understand the whole news story about the strozok is clear from a statement in your comment at 11:35pm.

                    you have been working from snippets of quotes plus reporter comments. that you resort acknowledges you understand the importance of my request for the real “entire texts”.

                    produce the original copy in its entirety.

                    otherwise your argument is merely your own highly biased personal opinion.

                    • Franklin says:

                      For the last time, orion — because I believe you’re in on-purpose-ignorance mode now — texts ARE “tiny snippets” in themselves. Nobody needs any further context from a text that relays details of a meeting where people meet to discuss taking some action against someone. We know what happened, and who was there. Most of all we know some form of action was being planned, which is all that matters to know that the “agents are entitled to their political opinions, it means nothing” defense is now negated. Because now we’re in “they also planned to do something about their opinions” territory, which is game changing.

                      You’re simply moving goal posts to avoid facing what those texts are saying.

                      And please, tell me how my “11:35” statement of the obvious (which has to do with the nature of text communication in general, not the Strzok case per se, which shows YOUR lack of comprehension) shows I don’t grasp the Strzok case.

                      For about the 12th time, you’ve ducked addressing the texts I graciously supplied you in response to your arrogant “demand.” So YOU don’t get to make the next demand, I do. Either address what was said in those texts, or be declared the coward afraid to face the truth. It’s your choice now, I’m done dancing with you.

                  • orionATL says:

                    franklin –

                    “… For the last time, orion — because I believe you’re in on-purpose-ignorance mode now — texts ARE “tiny snippets” in themselves. Nobody needs any further context from a text that relays details of a meeting where people meet to discuss taking some action against someone. We know what happened, and who was there. Most of all we know some form of action was being planned, which is all that matters to know that the “agents are entitled to their political opinions, it means nothing” defense is now negated. Because now we’re in “they also planned to do something about their opinions” territory, which is game changing.”…”

                    stop ducking and dodging, franklin.

                    produce the full text of the emails/sms from which you cite snippets cited by news media from where exactly…?

                    you are in troll tertitory now, franklin. playing with the meaning of words like “text” in the way i refer to as “lawyerly lying”.

                    instead of providing full text which allows readers to judge your opinions, you cite tiny fragments of a conversation, and declare that a sufficient “text”. doing so coveniently prevents readers from judging you. that’s what slick lawyerly lying is about. no cigar, hoss.

                    “we”, or you, don’t know what strozok said in what context. “we”, or you, don’t know what kind of action, if any, was actually planned. “something” was planned you quote. what specifically? the more of your ignorance of events you reveal of what you clearly hope would be legal action, the stronger the argument becomes you need full text to justify your desire for legal action.

  11. seedeevee says:

    “is it even possible that one person with a purported agenda was able to determine its outcome?” = “isn’t it Comey who made the final decision in any event?”

    That would be one person. Purported agenda or not. Determining the outcome. So, it can be done.

  12. orionATL says:

    on the matter of rosenstein’s behavior before huac, yes, i typed “huac” :

    here is wapo’s jennifer rubin’s take on rosenstein before huac.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/12/14/its-rosenstein-who-has-behaved-unethically-not-mueller/?

    rubin has been trump’s most articulate, persistant, and strong critic since he was inaugurated. she never loses her cool; her words slice with precision.

    i am sympathetic to what rubin says, but practical politics can interfer with “best possible response”.

    personally, i think rosenstein is doing exactly what director comey did – genuflecting to loud congressional soundbites. comey, i suspect, wanted to prevent harm to the fbi. rosenstein, i suspect, is trying to mollify to keep faux congressional outrage from bubbling over into a media firestorm and harming the special counsel’s work.

    how absurd is the croccadile tears shed in this faux congressional outrage?

    see orion – 12/14 @11:44

    hint: sessions, republican hyperpartisan, was put in charge of the entire fucking doj by trump and the republicans in the u. s. senate. damaging, hyperpartisanship? you bet.

    • Silence Hand says:

      I concur.  I suspect that concern for rule of law increased as the incoming admin’s true colors became clear to even the most jaded IC people.

      Rosenstein is fascinating.  Josh Marshall (while totally deserving EW’s ruler across the knuckles for “cognitive rot” on the Steele dossier) has a great perspective on this.  Basically, Trump uses, harms, and degrades everyone in his orbit, robbing them of all dignity (“dignity wraiths” in his terminology).  Rosenstein was widely recognized as ethically and intellectually outstanding.  Trump clearly wraithed him for Comey’s firing, but Rosenstein remains in a key position from which IMO he’s clawing his way back to the light.  In a manicured, DC FBI Associate Director kind of way.

      And, holy shit.  HUAC it is.  Have they no shame?  Answer: “Hells no!!!1!  Shame is 4 LOSERZ!!!!!1”.

      • Franklin says:

        You characters are hilarious. It was you who demanded this whole Mueller investigation, now when it produces counter-narrative material you don’t like, you want to us all to selectively dispose of it. Yes, we should just forget about Strzok and his plans to save the country, nothing to see here right? Why it’s just the Repubs using some meaningless texts to derail the sacred probe!

        Sorry fellas, it doesn’t work that way. We don’t discount what we read with our own eyes just because you fear it could work Trump’s way. You’ll have to face facts, such as the one that says the Hillary investigation looks pretty compromised now, and that Mueller’s team of DNC all-stars may not all be fit for duty. This looks bad for Strzok and a number of FBI higher-ups, and chances are there’s more damaging stuff to come. So I suggest you climb out of the River Denial, and buckle up. ‘cuz the ride looks to get bumpy…

  13. lefty665 says:

    Here’s another look, https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/13/the-foundering-russia-gate-scandal/  It includes a report that Strzok was one of the FBI analysts working on the January 6th “assessment” that included the Steele dossier as an appendix.  It also describes a plan to deny Trump the presidency by throwing the election to the House after having Democratic electors vote for Colin Powell. The vote for Powell happened, but the Trump electors voted as elected so the vote never got to the House. That is two places Strzok could have acted on his txted plans that he had several ways he could work to save the country from Trump, in addition to whitewashing Hillary’s email.

    As Deputy Asst. Director for counter intelligence (hold your jokes please, I know, the whole Bureau could be considered counter intelligent) he had a lot of access. He certainly had the opportunity act on his intent as stated in his txts with his sweetie.  Then there is the Ohr family working for Fusion and DOJ…  Neither the Feds or the Dems are looking any cleaner than the Trumpies and Repubs. Is this a great country or what?

    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/13/the-foundering-russia-gate-scandal/

    • Silence Hand says:

      I don’t concur with this perspective. It’s cherry picking and shot through with genetic fallacy (https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/genetic-) to wit: Strzok said bad things, therefore all work by Strzok is bad in all respects.

      Here’s a trap that should be considered in matters like this:

      1. You have a bucket of sewage, and you add a teaspoon of wine.  What do you get?  Sewage.

      2. You have a bucket of wine, and you add a teaspoon of sewage.  What do you get?  Sewage.

      While there are no angels in any corner, I think its crucial to resist false equivalence here.
       

      • Franklin says:

        Silent Hand refuses to believe this could be true about his beloved Strzok? Oh what a shock!

        Uh, the article didn’t say Strzok said bad things, it said he was part of an assessment team that enabled him the possibility of being involved in the plot to deny Trump the White House. Way to confuse facts to make your case. But sorry, you fail because as the poster correctly assesses: “As Deputy Asst. Director for counter intelligence (hold your jokes please, I know, the whole Bureau could be considered counter intelligent) he had a lot of access. He certainly had the opportunity act on his intent as stated in his txts with his sweetie.”

         

        • lefty665 says:

          What there is no doubt about is that Strzok is dumb as a f********  stump. As the #2 guy in FBI counterintelligence he gave his girlfriend a government phone whose communications he thought could not be observed, even by the Gov’t that supplied it. Could he be any dumber? Why actually, yes he could be, and he demonstrated that he was. He then used the USG phones to exchange highly anti Trump political comments and intimations of “plans to save the country” If the Repubs were bright they might demand he was put pack on Mueller’s staff and demand a dozen more like him. With that kind of brainpower on the job they could be sure the investigation would go nowhere. Too bad Monty Python is not still around. This would be good material for their Twit Race.

           

  14. Franklin says:

    And just when you thought things couldn’t look worse… guess Strzok was pretty busy back then.

     

    Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

    ‘Some of the edits proposed to the May 2016 draft, obtained by The Associated Press, appear to soften the gravity of the bureau’s findings.

    Comey, for instance, initially wrote that the FBI believed that Clinton and her aides were “grossly negligent” in their handling of classified information, language also contained in the relevant criminal statute.

    But the text was edited to say they were simply “extremely careless” in their use of a personal email server, a phrase Comey adopted for his July 5 public announcement that the FBI would not be recommending charges.

    Comey’s ultimate statement also omitted language asserting that the “sheer volume” of information classified as secret at the time it was shared made it reasonable to believe that the former secretary of state and her aides were grossly negligent.

    In addition, while Comey initially said it was “reasonably likely” that “hostile actors” had gained access to Clinton’s email server, the text was edited to say that such an intrusion was “possible.”‘
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-bc-us–clinton-emails-20171214-story.html

    • lefty665 says:

      793(f) criminalizes acts, not intent. The IC didn’t want perps pleading “Jeez I really didn’t mean to…” then having to prove why they did it in addition to what they did or the perps would skate. Bad intent makes it espionage, and there are sections of the statute dealing with that too. It seemed at the time that Comey paralleled the statute’s language but then pulled the “intent” rabbit out of the hat to let her off.

      Comey was rather like a cop stopping someone for doing 100 in a 25mph zone then not writing the ticket because he found no intent to speed. It certainly was consistent with how Strzok thought things should work for Hillary. Gollee officer maybe I should have wiped the dust off my speedometer like with a cloth or something. Gomer would have approved, but Barney would not have bought it for a second.

  15. Franklin says:

    Comey made up a crime that doesn’t exist so he could clear Hillary of it. Neat trick. All the while I couldn’t stop thinking of that poor sailor who’s doing hard time right now simply because they found pics of his sub’s interior on his phone. He hadn’t sent them to anyone mind you — he was just… negligent for having them there in the first place!

    Now the question is, who did the editing? And that means it’s time to haul in Strzok and ask him under oath. About that, and lots of other stuff.

    Oh and it DOES get worse… now we find out Strzok and the boys allowed Hillary and her aides to come in and remove electronic records along with boxes and boxes of physical records – all claimed to be ‘personal’ files. So they got away with doing that too, besides wiping the emails away with a cloth.

    • lefty665 says:

      Yep, and Jeff Sterling too, convicted of, and currently doing time for possessing a retroactively classified ’80s CIA training sheet on how to use a rotary dial phone. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

      It is also time to put the Ohr husband and wife DOJ/Fusion team in line with Strzok for interrogation. Don’t forget Strzok’s squeeze, Page, she was involved and deserves some time on the rack too. Getting her to roll over like Flynn could be referred to a “Turning a Page”. Bill and Loretta have not earned a free pass either, their little runway tete-a-tete set the stage for Comey.  I don’t like Trump worth a damn, but I do expect the Feds to have some standards.

      From Rbt Parry: “The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling “scandal” into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump’s presidency.” (see my post above @ 8:46pm for the Consortium News link)

      • Franklin says:

        hey lefty, good to hear a voice of reason on this board. Yes, you can have a low opinion of Trump and still be aggravated by the bullshit you see going on against him, despite the idiots here who conflate such objectivity with Trump love (or better yet, “Russian troll-ness.”). I think it’s obvious all these people listed need to be hauled in (including McCabe) and answer for their deeds under oath. The question is, should this involve a second special counsel, or just a special IG whose job it is to evaluate the fitness of Mueller’s staff to serve?

        • lefty665 says:

          Dunno, the big question is how to get someone who is not part of the Borg. I don’t know how you do that, or if it is even possible in America today. Sigh.

  16. wayoutwest says:

    I’d like to know where Comey found the authority to make and announce the decision about whether or not to prosecute Clinton. The FBI investigates and recommends action to the DOJ but they make the decisions supposedly.

    Loretta Lynch, AKA Elizabeth Carlisle, was already compromised by her words and actions during this investigation but was she authorized to delegate her responsibility to Comey.

    • lefty665 says:

      Not sure it was “delegate” as much as “abdicate” after the blatant conflict of interest she created with her runway meeting with Bill. She was reportedly grateful that Comey took her off the hook.

      FWIW, responsibility and authority are commonly misused. You can delegate authority to act, but never responsibility for the action.

      • Franklin says:

        That’s always been the mystery. Just my humble opinion, but I think Comey suffered forgiver’s remorse… he knew what they were doing was bullshit, but still wanted Hillary to pay just a little. A matter of conscience, if you will. So he took it upon himself to make that little public speech, I can only imagine the smoke coming out of Lynch’s ears as she watched.

        Now the question is, did the bureau decide on its own to change things to carelessness, or was this a Lynch directive? Keep in mind Comey’s already testified that Sweet Loretta made him do something that made him feel “queasy.” Time for a little discovery under oath, I’d say.

        • lefty665 says:

          Could be, but I have trouble ascribing much “conscience” to Comey, especially after his little self serving anonymous leak last year. Even in Duhbya’s DOJ he rolled over on domestic spying after his dramatic stand in Ashcroft’s hospital room. OTOH, it could be that he was ripped both at being stood up front and center as the fall guy and told what to do. At that point some language paralleling 793(f) describing what his investigation found then pulling the rug out from under it might describe the process as well as constitute a little passive aggressive catharsis. But I think you’re right, neither Loretta or Hillary could have been pleased. It is one of those oh to be a fly on the wall moments. Think we are pretty much on the same page.

          I don’t expect Lynch was off on a frolic of her own. I don’t believe she did anything without consulting with her boss, especially high profile political stuff (except her foolish tete-a-tete with ol’ Bill). Hillary flew off with Obama to campaign in Carolina right after Comey’s press conference. What a coincidence. Don’t suppose they had advance knowledge of what was not coming do you?

          • Franklin says:

            Oh no doubt Comey’s always been a political player and out for number one, but I’m basing this off what I heard him say in front of Congress. He clearly indicated he was uncomfortable and conflicted about things he was instructed to do by Lynch, including changing the language (gee they seem to have done a lot of that huh?) from “investigation” to “matter.”

            And yeah I don’t see how there’s any way Lynch acted except under the direction of, or at least with the approval of, her own boss.

             

        • lefty665 says:

          And, to get back to the subject of this thread, what reason is there to not find out what part Hillaryphiles Strzok and his lawyer squeeze Page played in that, a little pillow talk maybe? I know, we can wrap her in the flag and say she had no intent to commit those felonies, and and and we can let her gophers off the hook with immunity agreements so they don’t get rolled and go all Flynn on her… Well, at that time Flynn was not a verb yet, but you get the idea.

      • wayoutwest says:

        @Lefty

        I’m sorry I confused you and I should have remembered that Lefties often have trouble understanding the concept of responsibility. The FBI has the responsibility and authority to investigate some crimes but not to make the decisions to prosecute or not. The DOJ has both the responsibility and the authority to decide on whether to prosecute based on the FBI investigation. One is the duty of the department and the other is the source of power to fufill that duty.

        • lefty665 says:

          Part of my management consulting work was explaining to executives the difference between authority and responsibility. It seems it is no better understood in the west than it sometimes is in the east. Thought I was pretty clear the first time, but I’ll try again.

          Authority is the power to act, in the case of the FBI it is delegated to the Director by the legislation establishing and defining the duties of the Bureau pursuant to authorities granted to the Congress in the Constitution. The Director may delegate portions of that authority to fulfill statutory duties to subordinates, but he or she cannot delegate the responsibility to ensure that the authority is properly exercised.  Congress does not come back to the field agent who screwed up, the Director is called up to the Hill to get knuckles rapped.  Shit may flow down hill, and the Director may share his/her discomfort with the subordinate who screwed up. The subordinate may be sanctioned for failure to properly exercise authority granted to him or her, but the responsibility lies with the executive.

          Public authority backs up from the elected legislative and executive branches to us citizens. We as citizens sometimes fail to choose wisely those people to whom we delegate our authority to run the country. But, there is a remedy, that is why we have those election thingies. They are the method we have chosen to delegate and to re delegate authority.  The responsibility for that delegation of authority is ours and cannot be delegated.

  17. matt says:

    Judges, prosecutors, defenders, investigators, Trump, and my grandma all have partisan opinions, whether they text them or not. Evidence is evidence whether collected by pro Trump, pro Clinton, or pro Whoever. “Insurance Policy” could mean absolutely anything- it could even be an inside joke. There was already and internal investigation of Strzok that lead to his firing. Unless he made up facts in the investigation or planed a conspiracy, there is nothing to talk about. And for the love of God, the White House has its own Legal and PR defense- are they non-partisan? The job of Mueller’s team is to bring the facts before Congress and the American people…. then Trump will exercise his right to be represented by the best legal defense he can afford according to his constitutional rights and the Rule of Law.

    • bmaz says:

      Matt, yes! I have tried to relate this (I think earlier on this now epic thread, but not positive). Like the old “opinions are like assholes, we all have them” proverb, so it is with prosecutors, cops and DOJ people. Only at the very highest of the echelons have I ever cared. Far more important than political affiliation is are they honest? Do they do their job competently? Far more concerned about the accuracy of their 302’s and testimony. Their text messages to lovers, marital or not, don’t interest me generally. And, jesus, I am the last guy on earth to be defending law enforcement. As far down this rabbit hole as we are, unfortunately, I don’t think the bottom is in sight yet.

  18. Forest says:

    From Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    With spectators?
    Do you want to play questions?
    How do you play that?
    You have to ask a question.
    Statement. One – Love.
    Cheating.
    How?
    I haven’t started yet.
    Statement. Two – Love.
    Are you counting that?
    What?
    Are you counting that?
    Foul. No repetition. Three – Love and game.
    I’m not going to play if you’re going to be like that.
    Who’s serve?
    Uh…
    Hesitation. Love – One.
    Who’s go?
    Why?
    Why not?
    What for?
    HA. No synonyms. One all.
    What in God’s name is going on?
    Foul. No rhetoric. Two – One.
    What does it all add up to?
    Can’t you guess?
    Are you addressing me?
    Is there anyone else?
    Who?
    How would I know?
    Why do you ask?
    Are you serious?
    Was that rhetoric?
    No.
    Statement. Two all. Game point.
    What’s the matter with you today?
    When?
    What?
    Are you deaf?
    Am I dead?
    Yes or no?
    Is there a choice?
    Is there a God?
    Foul. No non-sequiturs. Three – Two. One game all.
    What’s your name?
    What’s yours?
    You first.
    Statement. One – Love.
    What’s your name when you’re at home?
    What’s yours?
    When I’m at home?
    Is it different at home?
    What home?
    Haven’t you got one?
    Why do you ask?
    What are you driving at?
    What’s your name?
    Repetition. Two – Love. Match point.
    Who do you think you are?
    Rhetoric. Game and match!

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