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Peter Strzok, the FBI agent whose text messages launched 1,000 right-wing conspiracies, testified before Congress today and refuted the accusation that he conspired to get Hillary Clinton elected president in 2016.
His testimony was before a joint session of two House committees in the wake of the FBI’s Inspector General report, which Republicans say prove without a doubt that top FBI officials, namely Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, were anti-Trump and that the FBI was rife with bias against his presidential campaign.
In his opening statement, Strzok defended himself and fought against that characterization, saying that he had the ability to sink Trump’s campaign back in summer 2016 and did not.
!!! STRZOK: in summer 2016, i was one of the few people on the russia investigation who had information that had "the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. but the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind."
— kelly cohen (@politiCOHEN_) July 12, 2018
Strzok’s argument exposes weaknesses in Trump’s and his supporters’ theory that the FBI wanted to prevent Trump from winning.
One, predominantly, is that Trump won. And two, the FBI didn’t really do anything to prevent him from winning. The investigation into Trump’s associates and their ties to Russia began in spring 2016, but because it was an active investigation, the FBI routinely denied to elaborate on any inquiries into the matter, leading to the New York Times to publish, in the weeks before the election, a story dismissing it.
At the time, one of Trump’s former campaign associates was under FBI surveillance, and the nation’s intelligence agencies were aware of a widespread Russian influence campaign designed to elect Trump. But none of that made it into the public consciousness before November 2016.
So if Strzok or anyone in the FBI wanted to sink the Trump campaign, one would think they would have done a lot more to, you know, actually do that.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]