Earlier this year, one of the FBI agents working on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation was taken off the case and reassigned to a human resources position. No official explanation was given by anyone involved. Various political pundits suggested (without any evidence) that incoming FBI Director Christopher Wray had taken the agent away from Mueller in an attempt at sabotaging the investigation. But now the truth is coming out: Mueller dumped the agent for good reason.
It turns out the FBI agent in question, Peter Strzok, was caught exchanging text messages that were personally critical of Donald Trump, according to a new report from the New York Times (link). Everyone has their political views in general, but you can’t do that kind of thing while you’re investigating someone. It’s the kind of thing that the target of the investigation could use as a legal defense (“They were out to get me the whole time” and so on), and so it’s not surprising that Mueller quickly booted the agent off the Trump-Russia case.
This serves as a reminder that, even as the Donald Trump debacle and the year 2017 in general are growing more surreal by the hour, not everything that happens is a conspiracy on Trump’s behalf. In this instance the incoming FBI Director was not trying to sabotage Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump. Instead, Mueller made a precautionary move after he felt one of his own agents had unduly risked jeopardizing the case.
In fact, based on the individuals quoted and the phrasing of the New York Times story, it sounds as if Robert Mueller may have been the one to put this story out there today in the name of full disclosure. That means he would have done so earlier, but didn’t want this story to distract from the investigation. It can also be taken as a signal of just how close Mueller believes he’s getting.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report