Retiring South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy was visibly disappointed in the Justice Department and former FBI Director James Comey following the release on Thursday of DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report.
The report criticized Comey and characterized him as “insubordinate” for failing to keep top Justice Department officials including then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and members of Congress properly informed about the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified emails.
Also, the IG’s report noted that Comey broke with longstanding department policy when he decided to brief the public on what the FBI found during the email probe and that “no reasonable prosecutor” would take the case to court — despite the fact that agents found several instances of criminal misuse of sensitive, legally protected information.
Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor who has regularly defended his old employer and the bureau itself, if not some officials currently within the agencies, was highly critical of Comey and the DoJ following the report’s release.
In particular, Gowdy was angry that former ranking counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, who was heavily involved in the Clinton probe, wrote in a text message to his paramour, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, that “we’ll stop” then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump from becoming president.
During one exchange Page asks, “He’s not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” in reference to then-GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Strzok responded: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” (emphasis added)
“[Peter Strzok’s] bias was so pervasive and toxic as to call into question any other investigations he was part of including his role in the investigation of what Russia did in 2016,” Gowdy said in a press release Thursday. “His bias impacted his decision-making and he assigned to himself the role of stopping the Trump campaign or ending a Trump presidency.
“The FBI’s actions and those of former director Comey severely damaged the credibility of the investigation, the public’s ability to rely on the results of the investigation, and the very institutions he claims to revere,” Gowdy continued. “This is not the FBI I know. This is not the FBI our country needs.”
To say the least.
Other lawmakers were equally outraged. (Related: Hillary trolls Comey after IG report drops — gets destroyed by a MOAB from Rep. Ron DeSantis)
House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., was appalled that various congressional committees investigating the FBI’s Clinton probe and “Spygate” were unaware of the Strzok text until the IG’s report came out.
The FBI and DoJ previously turned over transcripts of texts between Strzok and Page; her text transcript was in that documentation but his had been omitted.
One of them is House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. Following the release of the report, he tweeted: “Lisa Page text to Peter Strzok: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok reply: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” This Peter Strzok text about “stopping” Donald Trump was hidden from Congressional investigators. We never had it. Absolutely unreal.”
Lisa Page text to Peter Strzok: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok reply: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
This Peter Strzok text about "stopping" Donald Trump was hidden from Congressional investigators. We never had it. Absolutely unreal.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) June 14, 2018
He then asked some very pertinent questions, again via text.
“I’ve initially reviewed the IG report–two questions are most pressing: 1) Why is Peter Strzok still employed? 2) Why has Rod Rosenstein repeatedly failed to promptly inform Congress of improper conduct?” he wrote.
I've initially reviewed the IG report–two questions are most pressing:
1) Why is Peter Strzok still employed?
2) Why has Rod Rosenstein repeatedly failed to promptly inform Congress of improper conduct?
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) June 14, 2018
In his statement, Gowdy went on to call upon Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray “to take decisive action to restore Americans’ confidence in our justice system.”
That should include much more than just firing people. What Strzok did — actively work to undermine a duly-elected president — is treason, pure and simple. Anyone who helped him is an accessory to treason. They all need to be arrested, tried, and if found guilty, receive the maximum penalty the law allows.
This cannot be allowed to stand. The American people need and deserve justice.
Read more at JamesComey.news.
J.D. Heyes is also editor-in-chief of The National Sentinel.