It’s been over a year since the highly damaging text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, were revealed to the American public. The correspondence showed two senior Justice Department officials engaged in the most petty, vitriolic political diatribes while making decisions on the most sensitive investigations of the 2016 political season.
Their hatred toward then-candidate Donald Trump as well as their contempt for his supporters gave reasonable observers every reason to question whether the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the counterintelligence investigation into alleged Russian influence in the Trump campaign (Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page played key roles in both inquiries) were handled in a fair, unbiased and judicious manner.
Their behavior was so egregious that special counsel Robert Mueller removed them from his team the moment Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz told him about the text messages. Mr. Strzok was dismissed from the FBI, and further investigations are continuing.
Despite all this, defenders of the James Comey cabal and “Russia collusion” aficionados make one strong argument that seemingly debunks the spygate scandal and outrage over the upper reaches of the Obama administration’s wide-reaching surveillance operation on the campaign of the president’s rival party.
“If Comey and Loretta Lynch and Andrew McCabe and Strzok and even Obama did all of this to hurt the Trump campaign, then why didn’t they leak any of it to damage him, and how on earth did he win the election with this kind of dirty trick being played against him?” they argue. “If these guys, with all their power, set out to hurt Trump, they sure did a lousy job.”
This argument makes sense (which is why it is employed and repeated by mainstream media journalists and pundits whenever objections to Justice Department behavior in 2016 is raised on cable news) only if the sole intent of the FBI’s action in the summer of 2016 was to harm the Trump campaign.
New revelations confirm that this was not the mission of the creators and commissioners of the Steele dossier. It was, instead, to harm Mr. Trump if he won the election.
To understand this, we must first look at one of the most damaging and most misunderstood text exchanges between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page.
On Aug. 15, 2016, two weeks after Mr. Strzok initiated Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, the senior FBI official texted to his girlfriend: “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. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Some wrongly believe that the “insurance policy” reference is a scheme to keep Mr. Trump from winning the election. But this is not what insurance does. An insurance policy does not prevent a catastrophe from happening; it provides relief and restoration after the catastrophe occurs.
Mr. Strzok explains this explicitly in his text, but the mainstream media wish to ignore it. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” He isn’t saying “in the unlikely event you get sick and could die”; he is saying this is insurance in case the worst possible thing happens. If you die. If Mr. Trump gets elected. The insurance policy is to repair the damage after Mr. Trump wins. Just in case Mr. Trump wins.
Recently unearthed documents related to a legal finding in British courts reveal that Mr. Strzok’s “insurance policy” idea was conceived months before and put into action by none other than the Clinton presidential campaign.
The Washington Times’ Rowan Scarborough reported last week that Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who worked for Fusion GPS and was hired with Clinton campaign cash to create his now-infamous Russian “dossier,” told a British court that he was not hired to thwart Mr. Trump’s chances to win but to undermine the legitimacy of his presidency should he win.
“Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election,” Mr. Steele wrote in an answer to legal interrogatories.
“Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election.”
An insurance policy.
The purpose of the Steele dossier was to aid a Clinton challenge to a Trump victory. “In the event you should die “
Make no mistake, certain rumors found in the dossier were leaked to the media, namely Yahoo News, Mother Jones and The New York Times, weeks before the election, but that was just an attempted October surprise with the volatile content contained in the salacious and unverified dossier.
But the reason for the project in the first place, and the very real impact of Mr. Steele’s efforts, was to delegitimize and undermine the presidency of Donald Trump. And with the help of an all-to-willing mainstream media, so far the insurance policy has paid off.
• Larry O’Connor writes about politics and the media for The Washington Times and can be heard weekday afternoons on WMAL radio in Washington. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryOConnor.