It has not been a good couple years for the FBI. In that span of time, former FBI Director James Comey went from being seen as a non-partisan boy-scout to a partisan lackey.
On Thursday, a bombshell letter revealed that the FBI concluded last year that it was “reasonably likely” that Hillary Clinton’s private email server was hacked by foreign actors. But in an apparent effort to exonerate Hillary Clinton, the language in the FBI’s conclusive statement was watered down to say that it was only “possible” that she was hacked.
The FBI’s role in covering up the crimes of Hillary Clinton is a key reason that its credibility is in tatters. But it’s not the only one.
The new revelation comes amidst the release of damning text messages from former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who played a key role in the Clinton server investigation.
Most mainstream media outlets gave President Trump a hard time when he said the election was “rigged.” However, it may not have been as far-fetched as it once seemed.
As more information continues to emerge, it is becoming painfully obvious that the FBI was not only politically biased against then-candidate Trump, but overwhelmingly biased in favor of Hillary Clinton and potentially took direct steps to aid Clinton in her bid for the presidency.
In a letter sent by Senate Homeland Security chairman Ron Johnson to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Johnson claims:
The edits to Director Comey’s public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI’s public evaluation of the implications of her actions.
Johnson continued by stating that the edits to Comey’s statements “raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election and the role of the same agents in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Trump.”
In May of 2016, Comey sent a draft of his remarks to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and several other counterintelligence officials for edits. It is at this time that the draft is believed to have been edited by Strzok and others to remove language implicating Hillary or her aids of breaking the law.
The pre-edited statement of Comey’s remarks stated that “we assess it is reasonably likely that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s private email account.” However, Comey’s public statement months later was quite different from his original draft stating, “Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”
The unilateral change of the legal standard by Comey led many to call into question the impartiality and non-partisan reputation of the FBI, which Comey vehemently continued to defend after the fact.
A Thousand Cuts
Despite a vigorous defense by then former-FBI director James Comey, the FBI continues to be embroiled in scandal. The perceived political bias has also blighted the investigation of Comey’s old friend Robert Mueller.
Comey’s impartial pose worked for a time because little to no information had yet become public, but that is no longer the case. Just last month we learned that Peter Strzok, one of the former highest ranking counterintelligence officials in the FBI, was removed by the Mueller team for his aggressive anti-Trump text messages to Lisa Page, his mistress.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it is now known that Strzok was one of the most important investigators in the Clinton server investigation. Strzok is also alleged to have been one of the main FBI influencers in favor opening a Russia-Trump “collusion” investigation into President Trump and his campaign.
One text message between Strzok and Page reads:
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok texted on Aug. 15, 2016. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
This, of course, has led some to believe that the whole investigation into potential Trump-Russia “collusion” is a witch-hunt. President Trump himself has called it so and showed anger at the unwillingness of Comey to admit that Trump was innocent of any wrongdoing with Russia, which many believe was the reason for Comey’s ouster.
The FBI’s reputation is in tatters and as a result, Mueller’s is too. Whether true or not, his investigation has been tainted with a perceived political bias against President Trump and as more information continues to emerge, it is likely to get worse.
Mueller should have been forthright to Congress about Peter Strzok once his actions had been discovered during the investigation, instead of quietly demoting him and saying nothing. The lack of trust in our justice system is something we, as a country, cannot afford and it is Mueller’s responsibility to restore it.
It is time for Mueller to be transparent about what he knows and lay it out before the American people. He needs to clean house, expose the corruption of his friend and colleagues, and end the investigation into Trump if nothing has been found. Then, maybe we can begin to restore the reputation of the FBI.