Saturday, July 14, 2018

Republicans humiliated in Thursday's House hearing as Strzok struck back

Thursday, on live TV, the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees launched an attack on a career FBI agent who was responsible for identifying, investigating, and deporting Russian sleeper agents. I started to watch and then gave up - it hurt my stomach to watch this McCarthy-ist witch hunt that was transparently an attempt to undermine the Special Counsel Russia investigation.

Those Republicans exemplified the alternative (and primary) definition of “oversight.”

o·ver·sight
ˈōvərˌsīt
noun
(1) an unintentional failure to notice or do something.
synonyms: mistake, error, omission, lapse, slip, blunder
(2) the action of overseeing something.

The thing is, the House committees Republicans’ oversight in the first sense was intentional. By design, they did not even pretend to be doing anything other than character assassination of FBI uber spy hunter Peter Strzok. But that did not work out so well for them. They took the low road focussing on minutia and interrupting Strzok’s testimony. Strzok, in stark contrast, for the nation and world to see, took the high road.

Rick Wilson writes at The Daily Beast Republicans Thought Peter Strzok Would Be a Punching Bag. He Just Knocked Them Out. He was supposed to be a key in the imaginary conspiracy Trump’s congressional lackeys and media fantasists have desperately tried to write as history. He was having none of it. (h/t AZBlueMeanie)

[Thursday’s] spectacle was designed for one purpose only: the destruction of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia ties. Republicans like Fredo Nunes who have tried to present a series of dramatic, table-flipping reality TV moments to reach that goal have failed time and again to derail the Mueller investigation. This morning was yet another swing-and-a-miss for the Trump GOP.

… After an hour of drama-queen badgering from Trey “Benghazi” Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte, Strzok issued two passionate statements that will be the takeaways from an otherwise disorganized and contentious shitshow of a hearing before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.

The first was a ringing defense of the FBI, with Strzok showing the kind of real passion that makes for great television. The FBI lifer issued a ringing defense of himself and his agency, punching Gowdy hard in the nose.

"I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, at no time, in any of these texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took. Furthermore, this isn’t just me sitting here telling you you don’t have to take my word for it. At every step, at every investigative decision, there are multiple layers of people above me, the assistant director, executive assistant director, deputy director, and director of the FBI, and multiple layers of people below me, section chiefs, supervisors, unit chiefs, case agents and analysts, all of whom were involved in all of these decisions. They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me any more than I would tolerate it in them.”

He closed with this fastball:

"That is who we are as the FBI. And the suggestion that I in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn’t happen. And the proposition that that is going on, that it might occur anywhere in the FBI, deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.”

The second was a shot across Donald Trump’s bow: “I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity. I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart."

For more commentary on Thursday’s debacle, see AZBlueMeanie’s post in this morning’s Blog for Arizona, Putin’s puppet and his fellow traveler enablers in Congress attack federal law enforcement, undermining the rule of law and obstructing justice in defense of ‘Dear Leader’.

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