The #Resistance refuses to acknowledge more damning Strzok texts

The #Resistance refuses to acknowledge more damning Strzok texts
© Greg Nash

The calculated, purposeful effort by the political left, and many in the mainstream media, to ignore yet another series of troubling text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page speaks volumes about where we are as a nation. Depending on which political tribe in which you claim membership, you are expressly prohibited from uttering any criticisms that may weaken your cause or buttress the opposition’s.

That is so pathetically sad.

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On Wednesday, another release of text-message exchanges between Strzok and Page provided additional (as if we needed more) evidence of a coordinated campaign among some senior-level members of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyDershowitz: Trump's lawyers could force Rosenstein to recuse himself from Mueller probe New York Times defends bombshell Rosenstein report Donald Trump’s Rosenstein dilemma MORE’s headquarters cabal.

These “humble public servants” were hell-bent on influencing efforts in two consequential FBI investigations in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. And now we have irrefutable proof they were complicit in a Department of Justice (DOJ) “media leak strategy” and aware of other government entities that were “leaking like mad” to the press.

The experts who sneer at these assertions include some former government employees who condescendingly snark that such views emanate from “nut cases” who believe in nefarious “deep state” conspiracies, or are card-carrying members of the “tin-foil hat brigade.”

Their haughty condescension is a smokescreen. And while they offer many sober, legitimate criticisms of the current president and his administration, they are deathly fearful that their belief in the “collusion” canard might be exposed for what it is: A desperate “Hail Mary” to upend the lawful election of a man they loathe. It even led one Democratic politician to speak openly of assassination.

Yes, that’s where we find ourselves today.

While advocating assassination is the exception among the “resisters,” let’s allow that failure to acknowledge many of the president’s charges about the undeniable efforts of so many to obstruct his administration or cast it in the worst light possible is less obtuseness and more coolly calculated partisanship.

How else to explain the chirping crickets when seeking proportionate coverage of the latest damning Strzok-Page texts?

Many Trump foes scoffed haughtily at the assessments of some former FBI officials who weighed in on the issue and attempted to decode the rash of text messages that outlined purposeful coordination between officials inside the former administration – including supposedly apolitical civil servants – and the media. In one particularly chilling sequence, Strzok replies to Page: “Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried, and political, they’re kicking into overdrive.”

Wait, haven’t we been sanctimoniously lectured to for months that none of this was “political?” Assertions that it was indeed “political” result in the same tired default: “You’re attacking and undermining our government institutions!”

Llisten, I get it. Text messages provide only a flat, two-dimensional medium for these assessments. And, yes, having deciphered text-message exchanges on innumerable criminal cases during my career in the FBI, I understand that, bereft of context, communications can be misinterpreted. But we have scores and scores of Strzok-Page text messages and, when reviewed by folks who understand FBI nomenclature, syntax and shorthand, well, you know the old adage about relieving yourself on me and telling me it’s “raining.”

There is an established pattern in the Strzok-Page exchanges that even the most ardent “Resister” or “Never Trumper” cannot chalk up to an anomaly or an outlier. Yet, that is exactly what they are doing. A fierce debate is ongoing within social media circles about whether the “sisters” Strzok referenced was the CIA or other members of the intelligence community (IC) or DOJ.

Does it matter?

Throughout a quarter-century in the FBI, I heard the phrase “sister agencies” used frequently to describe federal, state and local law enforcement or IC partners. The only way we will truly know which agency — or agencies — Strzok referenced is to put him under oath. But it shouldn’t matter. Taken in context, and after personally grinding through every single released text, the evidence is overwhelming to me that a coordinated effort was ongoing to aid the Clinton campaign while impeding the Trump campaign. How else to evaluate the terms “scorned,” “worried” and, most damning, “political” while reviewing Strzok’s assessment of supposedly apolitical actors?

But, yet again, some who desperately want us to move on — “Nothing to see here!” — will quibble over minutiae in an effort to distract. Interpretations of bureau shorthand will be furiously debated. Was the “C” in the texted exchanges a reference to “classified” or “confidential” information? (I’d argue that, in this case, it probably referred to classified information).

And was “CD” a reference to the counterintelligence division or the cyber division? (Most likely it was meant to reference the counterintelligence division, as the cyber branch typically is referred to as “CyD.") But this was texted shorthand, and there were innumerable instances I came upon where I likely understood their intent but encountered a typo or confusing personal shorthand that might only be accurately deciphered by the conversation’s two participants.

The “#Resistance” — and many surrogates within the mainstream media — will argue that Strzok’s actions were not referred back to DOJ for potential criminal prosecution following an exhaustive investigation and subsequent published report by DOJ’s nonpolitical inspector general (IG). And they would, in fact, be correct.

But let’s not pretend the IG’s report didn’t identify nefarious intentions by Strzok and others at the FBI and DOJ. As reported by the Washington Post in the wake of the report’s release, “The inspector general concluded that Strzok’s text, along with others disparaging Trump, ‘is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.’ The messages ‘potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations,’ the inspector general wrote.”

Difficult to pretend that, although no material actions were discovered, Strzok et.al. did not purposely conspire — a “willingness to take official action” — to impact the 2016 election. And now we also know of the coordinated media strategy to aid and abet that stratagem.

Buckle your seatbelts, folks. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is currently reviewing conduct of FBI and DOJ officials during the Russia investigation. This is going to get worse before it gets better. And the #Resistance just may have to cease stomping its feet, screaming “Look, squirrel!” and finally take its fingers out of its ears on this one.

James A. Gagliano is a retired FBI supervisory special agent and a CNN law enforcement analyst. He is an adjunct assistant professor at St. John's University and a leadership consultant of the Thayer Leader Development Group (TLDG) at his alma mater, the United States Military Academy at West Point. Follow him on Twitter @JamesAGagliano.