Former Overstock.com CEO: ‘I took some orders that seemed a little fishy’ from Peter Strzok

August 23, 2019

Hours after stepping down as CEO of Overstock.com on Thursday, Patrick Byrne claimed that the FBI told him to pursue a relationship with alleged Russian spy Maria Butina.

“I took some orders that seemed a little fishy in 2015 [and] 2016,” Byrne told Fox Business in what Mediaite called a “wild” interview on Thursday. “The name of the man who sent me the orders was a guy named Peter Strzok.”

“This isn’t a theory”

The businessman first appeared on Fox Business, where he alleged that political espionage was committed against President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“This isn’t a theory of mine, this isn’t a political position,” Byrne said. “I was in the room when it happened. I was part of it. I thought I was doing law enforcement. Sorry.”

Wearing a hat that read “Make America Grateful Again,” Byrne went on to say that grief over recent mass shootings and the words of Warren Buffet had convinced him to come forward with details about his dealings with the FBI. Byrne also referred to Buffet as his “rabbi,” though he acknowledged that neither of them is Jewish.

“This country’s gone nuts. And especially for the last year when I realized what I know, every time I see one of these things, somebody drives 600 miles to gun down 20 strangers in a mall, I guess I feel a bit responsible,” Byrne said. “So I have to come forward.”

The “green light”

Byrne told Fox that he once helped law enforcement solve a murder and aided federal investigators in taking down “a couple hundred people on Wall Street.” He says that led to him receiving “fishy” orders involving Maria Butina, which Byrne elaborated on in an interview later Thursday on Fox News.

Currently serving a prison sentence to failing to register as a foreign agent, Butina is a Russian gun rights advocate who came to the U.S. as a political activist. Byrne said he met Butina at a political event in July 2015 — something that the low-level security clearance he claims to maintain required him to report.

Byrne says he was later given the “green light” to pursue a relationship.

Butina allegedly tried to get Byrne to come to Russia on several occasions, but Byrne says he wasn’t interested. He claims the relationship ended in March 2016, but said FBI officials asked him to restart it four months later.

“I didn’t lay a finger on her”

Byrne contends that these orders were sent to him via intermediaries from former FBI agent Peter Strzok, although Strzok was only “a clerk” for those higher up the chain of command.

“The second period, I did it because I was instructed to rekindle it. However, I decided that was not the right thing to do,” Byrne said. “But I was told where the orders came from, and the orders came from high enough that I accepted the orders. I just want America to know that I didn’t lay a finger on her that second time.”

Byrne said that former FBI Director James Comey was aware of the situation, but says that three high-profile figures (who he refuses to name) were ultimately in charge. For his part, Comey has called Byrne’s statements “ridiculous.”

Fox Business reported that stocks for Overstock.com “rallied” when Byrne stepped down on Thursday. As for Strzok — well, let’s just say there are a lot of questions just waiting to be answered.

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Adam Peters

Adam Peters is a Conservative Institute staff writer.