The Peter Strzok scandal just blew up in Donald Trump’s face

A friend of mine once said, “If a Republican accuses you of doing something, they’ve either done it, they’re doing it, or they’ve planned it. Sometimes all three.” All too often, they find it easier to gaslight rather than govern, and they know they can stay in power if they delegitimize the biggest arguments for why they shouldn’t be there.

Somehow, in Donald Trump’s mind, Peter Strzok, along with some other rogue FBI members, was plotting to install Hillary Clinton as president, and frame him for colluding with Russia. After Strzok testified before the House Intelligence Committee, his name began to fade in the media, and he only got the occasional reference in Trump’s tweets.

Yesterday the complete transcript of Strzok’s testimony from last June was released to the public. To no one’s surprise, the hearing doesn’t exonerate Trump even remotely. It casts Trump and House Republicans in an even worse light than before, and dispels any notion of a deep state conspiracy. Strzok was removed from the investigation by Robert Mueller for several anti-Trump texts, in order to make sure that an independent investigation into the campaign stayed independent and impartial. House Republicans, however, aren’t concerned about impartiality and did all they could to take messages exchanged by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page out of context.

Strzok’s text “We’ll stop it,” was held up as a smoking gun – unmistakable proof that the FBI was thwarting a Trump presidency. In reality, Strzok was referring to Russian interference in this text. The FBI briefed Trump campaign officials at least twice, warning them that Russia was trying to intervene on their behalf and to contact the FBI if anything seemed suspicious. Michael Flynn, Chris Christie and Donald Trump sat in on those meetings and chose not to call the FBI back.

I suppose Donald Trump could use the excuse that he wasn’t paying attention, but this bodes poorly for a whole lot of Republicans – not least of all former Congressman Trey Gowdy, who tried to tear apart each word of Strzok’s testimony in the hope that he could get Strzok to leak out more information on the investigation – a way to obstruct justice and perhaps find a way to charge Strzok, who wasn’t taking the bait.

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