IN HIS NEW book out today, former FBI agent Peter Strzok eschewed the traditional complimentary blurbs from famous friends for a different tack. The back cover of Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump relies instead on some very famous criticism: Trump calling Strzok a “fraud.”
That approach seems fitting, since the reason Strzok wrote a book at all is that he was caught up in a unique 21st-century scandal, a surreal intersection of texts, tweets, Donald Trump, and Russia. Strzok became the most famous FBI agent in the world after his private, candid political comments and fears about Donald Trump were spread—cynically and wrongly—by Rod Rosenstein’s Justice Department as part of the inspector general’s review of the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Investigators also uncovered and publicized Strzok’s affair with fellow FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
“Fraud” is hardly even the worst thing Trump has called the former agent; Strzok’s partial list of presidential insults on page 303 fills nearly half the page: “incompetent,” “corrupt,” “horrible,” “hate-filled” “totally biased,” “low,” “terrible,” “disgusting,” “stupid” “bad person,” “sick sick” person,” “con artist,” “evil person,” and much more.
Indeed, part of what makes Strzok such an odd villain for the Trump age is that—apart from some inopportune intimate text messages—all evidence seems to show that Strzok approached the Trump investigation with integrity and independence. Through a fall where he and other senior FBI leaders possessed perhaps the most damaging secret ever on a presidential candidate, none of them uttered the slightest public hint.
The finding of those texts led to a rapid downfall: Strzok was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, reassigned from counterintelligence to human resources, roasted by Capitol Hill Republicans, villainized by the right-wing media, names as the supposed linchpin of the Deep State collusion plot by the president, and ultimately fired by the bureau. (Strzok became such an infamous figure on the right that he made the hit list of MAGA bomber Cesar Sayoc, a story he relates in the book.)…Read more>>