Over the weekend we noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's top FBI investigator into 'Russian meddling', agent Peter Strzok, was removed from the probe due to the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with a colleague (a colleague whom he also happened to be having an extra-marital affair with).
Not surprisingly, the discovery prompted a visceral response from Trump via Twitter:
Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI “agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.” Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
Report: “ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE” Now it all starts to make sense!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
Alas, as it turns out, Strzok, who was blatantly exposed as a political hack by his own wreckless text messages, also had a leading role in the Hillary email investigation. And wouldn't you know it, as CNN has apparently just discovered, Strzok not only held a leading role in that investigation but potentially single-handedly saved Hillary from prosecution by making the now-infamous change in Comey's final statement to describe her email abuses as "extremely careless" rather than the original language of "grossly negligent."
A former top counterintelligence expert at the FBI, now at the center of a political uproar for exchanging private messages that appeared to mock President Donald Trump, changed a key phrase in former FBI Director James Comey's description of how former secretary of state Hillary Clinton handled classified information, according to US officials familiar with the matter.
Electronic records show Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey's earlier draft language describing Clinton's actions as "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless," the source said.
The drafting process was a team effort, CNN is told, with a handful of people reviewing the language as edits were made, according to another US official familiar with the matter.
But the news of Strzok's direct role in the statement that ultimately cleared the former Democratic presidential candidate of criminal wrongdoing, now combined with the fact that he was dismissed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team after exchanging private messages with an FBI lawyer that could be seen as favoring Clinton politically, may give ammunition to those seeking ways to discredit Mueller's Russia investigation.
The FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment.
Of course, as we noted a month ago (see: First Comey Memo Concluded Hillary Was "Grossly Negligent," Punishable By Jail), the change in language was significant since federal law states that "gross negligence" in handling the nation’s intelligence can be punished criminally with prison time or fines whereas "extreme carelessness" has no such legal definition and/or ramifications.
In fact, Section 793 of federal law states that "gross negligence" with respect to the handling of national defense documents is punishable by a fine and up to 10 years in prison...so you can see why that might present a problem for Hillary.
“Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer— shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
And just like that, the farce that has heretofore been referred to as the "Russian meddling probe" has been exposed for what it really is...an extremely compromised political "witch hunt".
As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2017