On Contempt: The FBI Has Congress’ Number

136px-US-FBI-ShadedSealBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the lingering questions left from the Strzok testimony. While it may seem like a thousand years after Helsinki and the Cohen tape, the testimony of Strzok was shaped by highly dubious instructions from the FBI not to answer core questions.  It is highly doubtful that a majority of these refusals would be upheld under judicial review — starting with the first question asked of Strzok.

Here is the column:

FBI official Peter Strzok’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee continued a time-honored practice of elected members of Congress doing nothing about the open contempt of federal departments or agencies and their unelected officials.

Strzok was just the latest in a long procession of officials, from both Democratic and Republican administrations, who refused to answer questions, produce documents, or otherwise comply with the constitutional authority of Congress to exercise oversight. Aside from outraged words of protest or toothless sense-of-Congress resolutions, none — not one — has suffered any serious consequences.

Strzok’s defiance began over a simple number: how many interviews the FBI conducted during its 2016 election investigation. As Strzok looked over to a stone-faced FBI lawyer, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) exclaimed in frustration, “I’m asking for a number!” Not asking for what anyone said, or even the identity of those interviewed, just the number. Strzok responded with what became a mantra to virtually every query about his role in the Clinton email and Russian collusion investigations: “Counsel for the FBI, based on the special counsel’s equities, has instructed me not to answer.”I am not quite sure what “equities” are, but they are not constitutionally recognized privileges. Strzok is a federal employee, appearing before a committee with oversight authority looking into a matter of great public interest. The FBI ordering him not to answer on the basis of “equities” is manifestly wrong. Strzok could have just as well cited “niceties” in brushing aside the committee’s questions.

For years, I have written and testified in favor of Congress enforcing its inherent authority over federal agencies. But those agencies have become ever more obstructive in refusing to comply with the core function of Congress, which is its oversight and its check on executive branch abuse. Strzok’s testimony shows just how far outside the constitutional lines agencies have gone in unilaterally dismissing Congress’s inquiries.

A 1982 directive called the “Reagan Memo” delineated the process for invoking privilege in a conflict with Congress. It directs an agency head to present the allegedly privileged information to the White House for review. Any invocation of executive privilege should then be accompanied by a formal declaration from an agency head or the president.

Yet, increasingly, witnesses refuse to answer questions without making such a formal invocation. In his hearing, Strzok did not invoke a privilege. He simply nodded to an unidentified FBI lawyer sitting behind him who proceeded to signal, like Caesar, what questions would be answered. Anything that might significantly shed light on the underlying allegation of FBI investigatory bias was deemed unanswerable.

This brings us back to Congressman Gowdy, asking Strzok a question about a investigation now closed and that clearly was not privileged: “Between July 31 and August 8, how many interviews did you conduct related to the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign?” A finite number of privileges exists to that question.

The classic privilege is to refuse to give answers containing presidential communications. That is not absolute and also not remotely involved here. There is privilege that can be asserted over the “deliberative process,” whereby agencies withhold information that would reveal internal deliberations on a policy or action. This has always been a contested privilege and is particularly dubious when asserted against an oversight committee and, again, not remotely viable in this case.

There is attorney-client privilege, which is not at issue with an FBI agent testifying before Congress unless his personal attorney makes such an assertion. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was correct in noting that the unnamed FBI lawyer was not Strzok’s personal lawyer. Then there is the claim of classified or national security information, which was not asserted here and does not appear relevant.

Finally, there is the shaky claim of law enforcement privilege. Based on a controversial 1984 opinion by the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, this privilege is raised when the information deals with open law enforcement investigations or sensitive techniques and strategies. This one comes closest to whatever “equities” may mean. However, courts have rejected such claims being used to block oversight committees.

Congress can yield to a request for nondisclosure or receive the information in a closed session, but it does not have to do so as a matter of constitutional law. Even if one accepts this privilege as a viable claim to raise against an oversight committee, it is meritless here. This was an inquiry into the actions — or inactions — of a single FBI employee. Much of the information already has been shared and released. Special counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed the same key individuals, and is looking for collusion with the Russians, not incompetence or bias in the FBI.

So what is left? The answer is contempt. It is outright contempt that has become almost casual in its sense of utter impunity. This has nothing to do with the subject or the merits of the committee’s investigation. The problem is that Congress has allowed the very agencies abusing these privileges in this instance, the FBI and Justice Department, to control whether their own officials can be prosecuted.

Congress has independent contempt authority. Our lawmakers can even hold trials for contempt. But the Justice Department persuaded Congress to leave such prosecutions to the agency’s own attorneys, with the promise to be a faithful agent in defending Congress’s authority. It has repeatedly and consistently violated that promise, refusing to submit strong cases of contempt to grand juries.

Strzok’s testimony once again reveals the utter absurdity of this system. It also explains why the Justice Department no longer tries to state clear privilege arguments, let alone supply the necessary declarations or follow the required procedures. It is not like the proverbial “fox guarding the hen house.” It is more like the fox guarding the hen house and agreeing to punish itself for any missing hens. Not surprisingly, the Justice Department consistently has found not a single missing hen.

And the solution to this? Congress needs to rework the referral system or return to enforcing its own contempt orders. Until then, I can give a number to the committee that will not change and is not privileged: zero. That is the number of Justice Department officials prosecuted for contempt of Congress under the current referral system. On matters of contempt, the Justice Department clearly has Congress’s number.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

LOAD COMMENTS (121)

313 thoughts on “On Contempt: The FBI Has Congress’ Number”

  1. Politicians and those that can afford expensive therefore supposedly clever, but not always-look at Cohen-lawyers, get away with the crimes they commit while slipping and sliding sideways, back and forth, through the legal cracks. Strzok is one, who happens to be a public servant; but then Trump is a public servant and Trump is the biggliest transgressor of all, ever. Criminals who would be in jail if it were not for the fine line they charter end up being the Governor of Florida, Senators, Congressmen, police officers, judges, FBI officials, and President of the United States. The system that allows ‘business men and women’ to afford the lawyers that confuse and confound until either ambiguity is purchased or palms are greased is the system in place for their lackeys, the bought and paid for representatives.

    Clinton pardoned those who had dirt on him instead of their going to jail where they belonged. Trump does the same. The interpretative elements of the law creates the status quo that affords all who can afford it, the ways around, not just law, but justice. Take the private privileged money out of the equation and the problem won’t be fixed as there is no one problem but the multifaceted surface of human nature. However, the direction would be towards greater and more equal justice. The laws are, in a large part, there to be purchased due to their ambiguity.

    1. “there is no one problem but the multifaceted surface of human nature.”

      true!

      that was the best thing I ever read you write here. save that one for future use isaac

      the rest of your comment was not at that level, to put it nicely

  2. Everybody is lying…except for one person
    Media: Lying
    Comey: Lying
    Obama: Lying
    Clinton: Lying
    Stormy: Lying
    Strozk: Lying
    Mueller: Lying
    Judges: Lying
    19 sexual assault accusers: Lying
    Climate change scientists: Lying
    17 intelligence agencies: Lying

    Putin: “He means it, I believe him”

    1. Yes Mary Poppins: This was institutional corruption and deep state got caught. Sorry to burst your bubble…
      “The party’s over
      It’s time to call it a day
      They’ve burst your pretty balloon
      And taken the moon away
      It’s time to wind up the masquerade
      Just make your mind up the piper must be paid…”

      1. Yes, next time I want to know about spies committing crimes in the US, I will ask Putin and take his word for it.

    2. you’re so clever, I can’t understand you. It all seems so clear if you think everyone SHOULD JUST AGREE WITH YOU!

  3. Excerpted from the WaPo article on 7 Key Moments in Strzok’s Testimony:

    One of the subplots here has been Democrats’ push to release the transcript of Strzok’s previous, closed-door testimony. They argue that it has been selectively leaked and described to impugn him.

    It’s worth noting that Goodlatte’s justification — that the committee’s investigation is ongoing — was the same one Strzok offered for not answering questions about the special counsel’s Russia probe. In the latter case, apparently, Republicans don’t think it applies.

    The contrast here is pretty stark:

    GOP in one breath threatens Strzok with contempt if he doesn’t detail Russia investigation, which is ongoing.

    Then it says it won’t release transcript of Strzok’s initial testimony … because its investigation is ongoing.

    1. Great comment. The hypocrisy of Goodlatte and the other Republican members of their sham Congressional investigation speaks mightily of their perfidy.

  4. If one goes straight to Hell in a hand basket then that means that one has not been buried or cremated. The country is sitting in a hand basket in Hell.

  5. Was there a similar column when Donald Trump Jr. cited lawyer=client privilege or when Steve Bannon, under subpoena refused to answer questions? They weren’t from the FBI, though, where they don’t discuss on-going investigations.

    1. specific language is used to invoke Atty client privilege. Strock did not invoke it.
      There is no privilege based on “equities.”
      that’s called MAKING STUFF UP

      1. Mr Kurtz – it seems to me in attorney-client privilege, the privilege resides with the client, not the attorney.

        1. yes, it does. Stroke didn’t invoke it. Just nonsense. He should go hire his own lawyer and invoke it if he wants too, and the flunkie who came with him who does not represent him has zero authority to make crap up. fire that loser. it’s a swamp, drain it by any means necessary

  6. As interesting as it is to observe a few spinners, liars, propagandists, and obnoxious*******s flood, and take over this site, this is really a bunch of damn bull****.
    Adios to Amigos, screw the trolls

        1. I was informed by a friend of your comments.
          I know that Benson does not really know what’s going on, so his unsupported 2-3 sentence comments are to be expected.
          I thought that WildShill had a bit more on the ball, and maybe was reading, and paying attention to the comments here.
          That was a major mistake on my part. In. thinking that he could discern propaganda, outright lies, and trolling was giving him far more credit than he deserved.
          So he can either continue pretending that he’s an amiable, even -handed fellow who does understand and read these comments, or he can selectively object to those things that offend his partisan sensibilities.
          That’s “the best I can do”, and as far as I’ll go beyond the previous comments I’ve already made about the few people who have been hijacking and trashing this comments section for the past 8-10 months.
          Keep conserving your energy with short, empty comments, Wild Shill.
          Apparently that’s the best you can muster. Sad

          1. “I was informed by a friend of your comments”

            Sure you were, LOL.

            Now you’ve added liar to your list of offensive attributes.

            Congrats!

            1. Actually, I was, Wild Shill,… .and stlill am.
              Sorry to break that news to . You may not now be certain that you can take anonymous shots at me as I’m going out the door, witthout risking a response from me. And I am sorry to interrupt you’re cheap shots as I’m going out the door.
              Since I think you mentioned that you worked in the media, I have a better understandng of your style, and where you are coming from.
              If you are involved in writing for a newspaper, I hope that for your sake that you can remain anonymous in that capacity,as well.
              Since you decided at this point, and only at this point, to attack me, that explains more about your “cover of anonimity”, and your overall chicken**** approach.
              I think your are assured of a comfortable future here, with about a half dozen other prolific anonymous weasels.
              Enjoy!

      1. David Benson owes me nine citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after two months, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – he makes perfect sense to me. If you take your morning meds and down a few cups of coffee he will make sense to you.

  7. On May 17th, 2017, DAG Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Swan Mueller III special counsel. Two days later, on May 19th, 2017, Peter Strzok sent the following text message to Lisa Page: “There’s no big there there.” If Strzok’s text message to Page refers to the Russia investigation, and if Strzok’s personal opinion about Trump clouded Strzok’s professional judgment in the Russia investigation, then the professional judgment that Strzok expressed in his May 19th, 2017, text message to Lisa Page is hopelessly inconsistent with the notion that Strzok’s personal opinion of Trump clouded Strzok’s professional judgment in the Russia investigation.

    BTW, on October 5th, 2017, Peter Strzok arrested George Papadopoulos at Dulles International Airport. I mention that because, clouded or otherwise, Strzok’s professional judgment expressed in his May 19th, 2017, text message to Lisa Page (“there’s no big there there”) was clearly revised in light of new evidence gathered since the appointment of Mueller on May 17th, 2017. After all, The New York Times first reported the Trump Tower meeting on July 8th, 2017.

    1. Dr. Strzok weasely testimony and now release of underlying FISA docs has got Ms. Late4Yoga spinning to the point of throwing up like a kid stepping off of a cheap carnival ride. Don’t forget to brush your teeth when your done.

      1. Release the transcripts of Strzok’s eleven hours of closed session testimony and then get back to us about weasel words from the likes of Goodlatte and Gowdy. Turley knows they can’t hold Strzok in Contempt of Congress for answering in closed session what Strzok was not allowed to answer in open session.

        P. S. Stick to picking on someone your own size and lay off MarryAMinority/AngerTrumpVoters–she’s way far too big for you, Billy Boy.

              1. Paul……..LOL
                And btw, critical thinkers are a minority, and marrying one would not anger Trump supporters. The he/she poster needs to revise.

                1. Yes they do get angry over interracial marriages. I am married to a Mexican immigrant and a lot of people give us dirty looks for it.

                  1. Marry – my wife is anchor-baby Chinese and I do not care what anyone thinks. Other than my wife voted for Clinton, I am very proud of her. And I am so far to the right that I want to restore the monarchy.

                    1. Mr Kurtz – I am thinking an American king/queen elected for life. On death, we elect a new one. I am with you, I do not want that twit Charles (I want to be your tampon) to be my king.

                  2. Many smart immigrants have what’s called a “Roll up the red carpet” attitude once they are inside the gates. Today a lot of the immigrants are not that smart. You might be surprised how many voted for trump. Naturalized ones that is. LOLZ

                  3. And every person who gives you a dirty look is (a) a Trump supporter, and (b) upset by your interracial marriage.
                    And you know this…how…exactly?

                1. Norrin Radd – I had not even considered a weiner pic since you could get that off the web. I was thinking of a selfie of his/her face or face with torso.

              2. MarryAMinority/AngerTrumpVoters says: July 22, 2018 at 11:03 AM

                I am not a woman.

                Oops! My bad. Please forgive my hasty assumption. Your comments are sufficiently intelligent that I presumed that you were female. Yes. Obviously I’m a reverse sexist. Sue me.

              1. Check out youtube videos of lion tamers. Then you will realize how dumb your comment is.

                1. If Paul truly regards a few women as though they were lionesses, then Zorro Zorro Nevada will realize how geriatric Paul’s comment was.

                  1. L4D still enables David Benson – don’t put words in my mouth. That is the first thing. Second, not every woman is the perfect dating experience.

              2. L4D enables David Benson – if you had ever been to an old-timey 3 ring circus, you would know what the chair was for.

                  1. L4D still enables David Benson – I have been to comedy clubs before and never seen a whip used. However, it has been a while since I have been so maybe they are using them to control the patrons.

    2. L4D enables David Benson – Strzok is awfully high level to be making arrests at any airport. Are you sure he arrested him at Dulles?

      1. One source said the following: “Strzok remained on the case just long enough to net its first arrest, that of Papadopoulos on July 26, 2017.”
        Another source said, “George Papadopoulos was arrested at Dulles Airport on October 5th, 2017.” Given the difference between the dates, the first source could be referring to Strzok’s interview of Papadopoulos, which may have led to the arrest of Papadopoulos at the later date.

            1. L4D enables David Benson – Benson is in charge of all my sources. You need a source, he is my man. Just ask him.

                1. L4D still enables David Benson – Benson is in charge of supplying all my sources to YOU until he has me paid off. If you want a source from me, get it from Benson.

  8. Have the Sergeant-at-Arms arrest him and lock him in a cell in the Capitol basement. Given that in Muellerworld, attorney-client privilege is non-existent, you make them live by their own rules by holding the FBI lawyer responsible as well, locking him in a cell next door.

    What’s puzzling is where the Attorney-General and the President are in this situation. The best sense I can make of it is that they’re waiting for the midterms before the letters of dismissal are issued.

      1. Yeah, a man who builds a business with 22,000 employees and $9.5 billion in revenue is ‘incompetent’. If you really want someone ‘competent’, you hire the man who ran the Chicago Annenberg Challenge into the ground.

        1. Possibly The Donald was competent at that although I have seen it stated he would be far wealthier if he had just put his inheritance into a fund for others to manage.

          But in any case that is not the certain form of competence required here…

          1. I have seen it stated he would be far wealthier if he had just put his inheritance into a fund for others to manage.

            By people who didn’t actually run the numbers. The economist Scott Sumner tried to push that line, then went into an arm-waving fury when it was pointed out by his commenters that even if Trump re-invested all of his dividends, consumed nothing, and paid no taxes the index-fund strategy didn’t get him to the position he now occupies.

            You have a look at the Forbes 400 and see if you can identify those who have built or maintained a large fortune through portfolio investment. Fewer than 10% have, and none of them were passive index fund investors.

            1. Spastics, thank you for your point of view. However, you fail to address the issue. That being that The Donald shows no indication of competence as POTUS. On the contrary, he now appears to suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, at a minimum.

              1. Trump practices ownership concealment. If Trump, himself, actually owns five cents on a dollar of what Trump claims to own it would truly be a miracle of God. Now why God be that generous to Trump?

              2. Wait. I misspoke, again. Let me walk that back. I should have said why wouldn’t God be that generous to Trump.

              3. The Donald shows no indication of competence as POTUS.

                David Benson shows no indication he ever developed serious criteria for what that means.

                There are a great many media sh!tstorms, but that’s largely attributable to the decline in professionalism among the media. Congress has also sat on nominees, but that’s a function of statutory law requiring far too many executive branch appointments to be subject to confirmation hearings as well as the Senate’s inane parliamentary rules. There’s more turnover than I’d care for, three of his major appointments lacked executive experience, and one was a stew of petty embarrassments. I’d like people who had known profiles on issues, but Trump is not someone with a carefully considered set of ideological and policy preferences, so you’re not going to get that. He’s gone to the business community and the military for most of his appointments, precisely the sectors Obama eschewed.

                As far as policy choices, Trump hasn’t made notable howlers yet. Obama’s initiatives in his first 18 months included promoting a ‘fiscal stimulus’ which consisted of a Democratic congressional pork wishlist, giving priority to legislation on medical insurance over legislation to heal the financial sector, promoting a ‘rescue’ of GM and Chrysler which incorporated raiding TARP funds and screwing over secured creditors in favor of Democratic Party clients, acceding to Dodd-Frank, which was composed by having lobbyists sit for Bull Sessions in Barney Franks office, extended yet more discretionary power to federal regulators (who can use it to benefit Democratic Party clients), and failed to effect any structural amendments in the architecture of the fianancial sector. His monument to himself was the Obamacare legislation, which created structurally unsound actuarial pools which are now imploding.

                1. Spastics, once again you cannot keep to the topic at hand. That is a big minus in formal debate.

                  As for The Donald, he shows is incompetence daily, with every Tweet. You yourself mentioned a few of his failings. That is defending him? Tch, tch.

                  1. No, David, you raise the topic, then get lost in a senescent fog. You found Obama’s performance acceptable because you do not have serious evaluative criteria.

                    As for The Donald, he shows is incompetence daily, with every Tweet.

                    No, David, that’s not what is meant by incompetence. The rest of us realize academics are other-directed people who strike poses all the time and fancy that ‘competence’ consists of performing a la Obama. Ordinary people are interested in results.

                    1. Is this another of your metaphors? Speaking of results, what significant results has Trump achieved for you/us?

                    2. Dr. Benson is, at most, only fifteen years older than you. At your age, a 20% increase is not a significant difference.

              4. David Benson owes me nine citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after two months, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – even if he has ADHD it does not make him incompetent. It just means that he is covered by the ADA if he should get impeached. 😉

                BTW, when am I going to get those citations you owe me? Today would be a nice day to walk to the WSU library and get them. Give you a purpose for the day.

      1. Both Benson and this WildBull need to stop overexerting themselves in their “contributions” here.

          1. That may or may not happen eventually, irrespective of your wishes or predictions.
            When someone makes serious, unfounded accusations against me, I am likely to respond.
            The intensity of that response likely to increase when the person making the accusation is a passive-aggresive, anonymous coward.
            I’m not interested in a lengthy back and forth arising from Wild Bill’s comment’s, but a response is warranted under the circumstances.
            I can accept and discuss valid criticism and accusations that have merit.
            That is not really possible when low-life anonymous scum make baseless accusations.

              1. I intended to this morning….if you hadn’t shot off your mouth after I “left”, my departure would have effective as of this morning.
                Being anonymous, and perhaps thinking that you are safe from any further response from me, you made some accusations that I became aware of.
                So going forward, it’s likey to be hit and miss whether I become aware of your comments about me.
                You may have a shot at slipping in some comments I’ll never see or hear about, so you may, or may not, have the security of knowing that I won’t respond.
                Another option is that you forego those opportunities, and that we both drop this farce now.
                You go your way, and I’ll meet you halfway by “going to hell”.

                1. never let anonymous tards get your goat tom Nash, i am sure you have valuable contributions to make and I welcome them

                  1. Do you really expect anyone to believe that your ancestors were named after a character from a Joseph Conrad novella?

                    1. L4D still enables David Benson – do you really think that Joseph Conrad has a copyright on the name Kurtz?

                    2. It’s Colonel Kurtz to you, Are you an assassin? or a soldier? You are neither. You are an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill.

                    3. We are the hollow men
                      We are the stuffed men
                      Leaning together
                      Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
                      Our dried voices, when
                      We whisper together
                      Are quiet and meaningless
                      As wind in dry grass
                      Or rats’ feet over broken glass
                      In our dry cellar
                      Shape without form, shade without colour,
                      Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
                      Those who have crossed
                      With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
                      Remember us – if at all – not as lost
                      Violent souls, but only
                      As the hollow men
                      The stuffed men.

                  2. Mr. Kurtz,..
                    Thanks for your comment.
                    I unsubscribed to this blog, but revisited this thread were I left my last comments.
                    I noticed a new comment by one of the more prolific trolls and propagandist who performs here, so I did leave a comment about her comment.

      1. I actually look at statistics from the CDC and other agencies, not pop psych mags. The ratio of divorces to a the number of marriages contracted in year n-6 is 0.4, so, no. That, by the way, refers to all marriages. The ratio for 1st marriages is lower.

          1. Marry – the divorce rate has to be per every year prior to the year you have listed. Very few people get divorced immediately after getting married. 😉 You need an actuary to pull the figures together. I am sure there are different rates for different years. Plus, it would be a running figure, i.e., we only stayed together until the kids were out of high school, etc.

          2. A more appropriate measure is the number of divorces per the population of married persons, not per the whole population. My metric was to compare the outflow to the inflow. The median lapse of time from marriage to divorce for those couple so doing is just north of six years.

    1. i think that would be very bold and likely Sztrock would not comply. Nor even have to resist. We are not there yet but it is conceivable.

      Such a thing would create a major loss of face for the US. I think there is zero chance the Honorable Paul D Irving would comply with such a lawful order. He is an old FBI hand too.

  9. So far the only FBI agents named are Peter Strzok & Lisa Page. But another “5” G-men who were also in on the mutiny plot keeps coming up.

    Contempt, mutiny, disobeying a direct order, insubordination, negligence, incompetence & conspirator.

    The reasons behind the mutiny are still a subject of debate.

      1. Neither Strzok nor Page nor anyone else at the FBI took any action to prevent Trump from being elected President. That necessarily means that the personal opinions of Strzok and Page had no effect upon their professional judgment as FBI investigators. BTW, Strzok wrote the rough draft of the letter Comey sent to Congress about the reopening of the Clinton email investigation eleven days before the election.

        1. OK, since Trump was elected, there must not have been a strong bias against him by Strzok, Page, and other top FBI/ DOJ official.
          And he won, so Strzok et. al must not have prioritized investigating him.
          2-4D/ Diane would argue that a Democratic safecracker caught red-handed was innocent because no money was actually taken out of the bank.
          She’s gotta get dizzy flooding this site and spinning like a lathe half the morning.
          Maybe if the Demicrats regain control she can head a Ministry of Propaganda….she is well qualified.
          Not interested in her filibuster-response/ deflection…..seen enough of the same old, same old crap from her every morning, as regular as the sunrise, and one hell of lot longer than dawn to full sunlight.

          1. As I’m sure you know, Gnash, IG Horowitz reported that he could find no evidence that Strzok’s bias against Trump effected any actions or decisions made by Strzok or his boss, Priestap, or Priestap’s boss, Comey. Meanwhile, Strzok’s bias in favor Clinton did absolutely nothing to protect her from actions and decisions that Strzok made against her. You don’t have to like it, Ptom. You just have to accept it. Maybe that Spy-Gate scandal will work out more to your liking. But I doubt it.

            1. L4D enables David Benson – IG Horowitz could find no documentary evidence. He did admit during the hearing that Strzok and Page were biased as well as several others.

            2. hmm, i read that sztrock amended Comey’s memo in her favor. probably that didn’t matter in the end.

              of course Comey should not have issued the stupid memo in the first place, that was him over stepping his proper role and invading the province of the chief prosecutor

              it would have been better for our republic if he had let Lynch do her job, or not. That’s how the system is supposed to work. He is just the top cop not the top prosecutor. Leave the decision to prosecute to the prosecutor.

              instead he had to open his big, fat, self-important mouth

              Trump would have won one way or another, nonetheless

          2. “OK, since Trump was elected, there must not have been a strong bias against him by Strzok, Page, and other top FBI/ DOJ official.”

            That’s not what LFD said, do you suffer from a reading disability?

            Or is invoking straw men your preferred mode of arguing?

            1. Tom Nash is having really a bad week. Trump’s performance at the Helsinki meeting with Putin has triggered a major bout of cognitive dissonance for national security hawks such as Mr. Nash. We should probably go easy on him for a while until he snaps back to his old good-sport self again.

              1. Oh, it’s just getting started. Ten years from now we will think this was all a very quaint and civil conversation.

        2. L4D enables David Benson – Strzok is responsible for the counter-intelligence investigation which will be piggy-backed by Mueller. If Strzok was all that, he would have given Trump a heads up about it. This was the “insurance policy”. If Trump got elected, they got him impeached.

          1. The FBI never bought Strzok’s insurance policy. The path that Strzok threw out was the path the FBI did not take; namely, aggressive and overt investigative steps in the Russia investigation in the Summer of 2016. Those aggressive and overt steps were what Strzok meant by the words insurance policy. Comey, McCabe, Priestap and Yates all repeatedly overruled Strzok’s advise about aggressive, overt investigative steps in the Summer of 2016 as an insurance policy. Moreover, the reason Strzok’s advise was not taken is that all of Strzok’s superiors at the FBI and the DOJ were afraid that the New York Office of the FBI would leak it to the press and Trump and Giuliani would have a banner waving field day squawking about being spied on by a rigged system. Gee. That last part sounds familiar. Haven’t we all heard that tune before?

            1. L4D enables David Benson – I would contend that the insurance policy was to impeach Trump if he ever got elected and the FBI went full-bore to get that done, with help from the State Department and WH. Clapper rolled over on the WH yesterday, Lisa Page rolled over on Strzok last week. The plot is coming apart.

              1. You would contend . . . No kidding? You arrogate to yourself the unwarranted presumption of superiority of interpretive skills with which to contend against the explanations that other people give for their own words. Strzok lost the argument about the insurance policy.

                1. L4D enables David Benson – I am an egalitarian. My argument is just as good as anyone else and better than many (like the Lame Stream Media).

                  1. You contend whatever makes you feel good in the heat of the moment. You contend against whatever makes you feel bad in the heat of the moment. Self-serving contentiousness is not the secret meaning of the word egalitarian.

            2. how do you know this? are you Sztrock? for all we know there was another “contingency plan” in place that was not played

              or is still being played out now

    1. Excerpted from Peter Strzok’s opening statement to The HPSCI:

      There is, however, one extraordinarily important piece of evidence supporting my integrity, the integrity of the FBI, and our lack of bias.

      In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign. This information had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.

      That’s what FBI agents do every single day, and it’s why I am so proud of the Bureau. And I am particularly proud of the work that I, and many others, did on the Clinton email investigation. Our charge was to investigate it competently, honestly, and independently, and that is exactly what happened.

      I’m also proud of our work on the Russian interference investigation. This is an investigation into a direct attack by a foreign adversary — and it is no less so simply because it was launched against our democratic process rather than against a military base. This is something that all Americans, of all political persuasions, should be alarmed by.

      In the summer of 2016, we had an urgent need to protect the integrity of an American Presidential election from a hostile foreign power determined to weaken and divide the United States of America. This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax.

    2. Captain Bligh – it appears to be more a palace coup than a mutiny and it is still continuing.

    3. appropriate discipline should be imposed on them and then charges consistent with the law; due process; and then the hangings may commence

      1. Mr Kurtz – I have always felt we should start with the hangings and then hold a kangaroo trial to justify them. 😉 We don’t want someone to accidentally slip through the net.

  10. Does anyone not believe that there is a deep state that does whatever it dam pleases and doesn’t answer to elected officials? If people want term limitations on elected officials, then maybe there should be term limitations on appointed bureaucrats.

    1. Independent Bob, dams are controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation or the Army Corps of Engineers.

    2. Turley wrote, “This brings us back to Congressman Gowdy, asking Strzok a question about a investigation now closed and that clearly was not privileged: ‘Between July 31 and August 8, how many interviews did you conduct related to the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign?'”

      Turley is just-plain flat-out wrong. The investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign is not closed. The number of interviews Strzok conducted between July 31st and August 8th of 2016 [a period of nine days, inclusively] is, in fact, relevant to an ongoing investigation. If Gowdy had posed that question in a closed session rather than a public hearing, then Strzok might very well have answered that question. And then Gowdy and Goodlatte and whoever else wanted in on the act could have leaked it to the press or far more likely to Trump who still has a pressing need to find out how much Mueller knows.

      What legitimate oversight purpose might Gowdy’s question to Strzok serve? July 31st through August 8th of 2016 were the first nine days of the FBI’s Russia investigation. How many interviews does Gowdy think Strzok conducted in the first nine days of the Russia investigation? Zero? One? Two or more? Why is the answer to Gowdy’s question a legitimate oversight function of Congress? Because Trump wants to know the answer to Gowdy’s question? What’s Trump going to do with the answer to Gowdy’s question?

      1. There she goes again, replying to herself. Did you know that Strzok testified for eleven hours to a closed session of The HPSCI? Did you also know that a fair bit of what you’ve read about Strzok was leaked from HPSCI? Finally, did you know that HPSCI refuses to release transcripts from Strzok’s closed-session testimony?

        Suppose that the stuff that HPSCI already leaked is the worst that they have on Strzok. Further suppose that the stuff HPSCI refuses to release is stuff that makes Strzok look good. Now here’s the kicker: Suppose that the answers to the questions that Turley wants answered were already given in Strzok’s eleven-hours of closed-session testimony; such that, Turley wants Congress to hold Strzok in contempt for refusing to answer publically questions the answers to which Strzok may have already given in closed session. Would Turley truly take a position like that? Knowingly? I have no idea anymore what sort of knowing position Turley might take. Do any of you?

      2. L4D enables David Benson – the answer to the question that Gowdy asked was zero. Gowdy looked in the files for the answers.

        1. If Gowdy already knew the answer to the question he posed to Strzok, then there’s a pretty good chance that Strzok gave Gowdy that answer in his closed-session testimony. In which case, there’s no basis for holding Strzok in Contempt of Congress. And here’s why not: If Congress did hold Strzok in contempt, then the transcripts to Strzok’s closed-session testimony would become evidence subject to discovery by Strzok’s defense counsel. And so soon as it came out in a legal proceeding that Strzok had answered the question Gowdy posed to Strzok the Contempt of Congress citation would be tossed to the curb on its ear.

          1. L4D enables David Benson – I am sure you have not heard this before, but as a lawyer, you should not ask a question you do not already know the answer to.

            1. Is that supposed to be a refutation of something, anything that I had asserted? If Strzok answered Gowdy’s question in his closed-session testimony, then Strzok is not in Contempt of Congress. Why else would Goodlatte refuse to release the transcript of Strzok’s closed-session testimony? Do you think I don’t already know the answer to that last question?

    3. https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/05/22/yes-virginia-there-is-a-deep-state/

      MAY 22, 2018
      Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
      by THOMAS KNAPP FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
      Since the “Russiagate” probe began, US president Donald Trump and his supporters have used lots of bandwidth raging against what they refer to as the “Deep State.” Does the Deep State exist? If so, what is it, and are its forces arrayed specifically against Donald Trump and his administration?

      Yes, the Deep State exists — probably more so at one end of its numerous definitions and less so at the other, but to some degree at both ends.

      At the seemingly more benign end, the Deep State is simply what one might think of as the “permanent government” — the army of bureaucrats and functionaries whose careers span multiple administrations. Like all career employees of large organizations as groups, they tend to fear and resist change, and their sheer mass has an inertial effect. They energetically do things the old way and drag their feet on new things.

      At the end dismissed by mainstream commentators as “conspiracy theory,” the Deep State is an invisible second government which acts in a coordinated manner to protect its prerogatives and advance its interests and favored policies versus changes supposedly demanded by “the people” via their elected representatives in Congress and the presidency. The premier example of this view is the claim that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA and the military industrial complex because (in one version) he was about to get the US out of Vietnam.

      If that end of the spectrum sounds crazy to you, consider:

      Former FBI attorney Lisa Page and former FBI deputy counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok, while working on a pre-election investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, exchanged text messages with incendiary content such as “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.”

      In mid-May, it emerged that an FBI informant approached two or three (reports vary) advisers to Trump’s campaign during the same period to pry into those advisers’ alleged ties to the Russian government.

      Is President Trump stretching the reports we’ve seen when he tweets “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story?”

      Well, maybe. But not by much. On any fair reading, those two stories combined do look a lot like the second definition of Deep State skulduggery. The FBI was meddling in — acting to influence or in extremis overturn — a US presidential election (sound familiar?). The messages between Page and Strzok color that meddling as intentional Bureau political action, not as incidental investigative fallout which just happened to touch on the election.

      While I disagree with President Trump on most issues, it’s hard to disagree with him when he rails against a transparently political witch hunt that has dragged on for more than a year visibly and for months before that beneath the surface. The Deep State is real. And dangerous.

      1. Planet Earth to Mr. Kurtz on Aldebaran IV: Lisa Page and Peter Strzok utterly failed to prevent the election of Trump to The Presidency of the United States. In fact, they didn’t even try to prevent Trump’s election for fear of being accused of attempting to interfere in a presidential election.

    4. i think they do answer to them, but perhaps not enough

      there is a balancing act in any modern system between “civil service” which allows for stability in government, and the destabilizing and yet freshening effect of electoral replacements

      the Deep State is perhaps not answerable enough, and that’s what the Church committee hearings were all about, and we need something like that again. i won’t hold my breath

  11. Some day Congress will put their big boy pants on and do their job. But some day isn’t anytime soon.

    They don’t seem to care that our laws aren’t followed, they just scream and cry.

  12. Interesting article, but I fear you are whistling in the wind. However, former lover Lisa Page seems to have rolled over on him and new names have come to the surface, so that makes things more interesting and will drive the Democrats crazy.

    1. Paul, my research proves to me they were not Phking! Sroker/Page, It was cover.

      It’s part of the fake Scam!

      Further Prof Turley has a horrible issue as to aliening himself with seditious traitors.

      I’ve had issues myself but never having been a traitor or supporting traitors.

      A friend needs to bitch slap Turley & fast as a lot of Americans can not put up with all these Treasonous aholes.

      In the mean time buy more popcorn & count those that lost the big race.

      Sorry, I have try to write the needed Liability BS.

        1. hollywood – between their jobs and txting each other, I am not sure when they had time to do either their jobs or bonk.

            1. hollywood – spoken like a guy who has never had to explain it to his wife or pay for a divorce lawyer. 😉

                    1. In the real world, most marriages don’t end in divorce. If you’ve run through the courts twice with that attitude, it’s due to a mixture of incompetence and asininity.

              1. Most people/Lawyers misunderstand the 1st Amendment/Freespeech.

                What it says & what you should tell any Judge, more importantly the jury is that You have the Right to Shut the Phk Up.

                  1. Lost a few out of the gate then I saw the scam, Haven’t lost since.

                    BTW: What the PHK with this Mulerear: Why do those he is attacking not Demand to see the FISA Warranys> That kills the whole case, he has no authority.

                  2. Please do not misunderstand me, I know many great lawyers with cut/dry cases that have lost their cases because of corrupt judges.

                    Studying History, I do not feel Turley, those type Biased Judges understand what will soon happen to them, they’re done, retired..

                    1. I think the moderator has done some appellate work, but is not otherwise a working lawyer.

      1. “Paul, my research”

        IOW endless hours obsessively following Infowars with the other fruitcakes.

        1. I strongly suggest you put a few raw steaks on your face after get smacked with my/some Infowars research & only a 1/3rd of those FISA warrants/renewals.

          Aside from the Fraudulent data presented to the court/s for the warrant/s there seems a small almost meaningless problem with the dates. Oops!

          LOL:)

          1. Oky you’re a trip.
            Infowars is a national joke, it’s only loonies like you who take it seriously.

            1. Lastest I heard Infowars has very large groups of current former military/police/gov’t workers supporting infowars/Trump’s efforts to MAGA.

              along them & others Jones/infowars current has as of a couple weeks ago 85 million unique listeners/viewers weekly across there hundreds of platforms world wide.

              1. “Latest I heard”

                The voices in your head again?
                Infowars is a joke. What’s even funnier are the clods who regurgitate
                that garbage.

      2. the user has called for assault and battery on the blog host. time for an IP ban on the user suborning criminal activity. bye bye

        1. Oky1 says: July 22, 2018 at 1:44 AM

          “A friend needs to bitch slap Turley & fast . . . ”

          Evidently Oky1’s subornation of simple assault at the hands of one of Turley’s “friends” furnishes a legally defensible mitigating circumstance on actual criminal charges. Meanwhile, Oky1’s frequent citations of InfoWars almost certainly renders Oky1’s threat literally unbelievable to most reasonable people. That. in turn, could entail that Mr. Kurtz is not a reasonable person. Unless, of course, Mr. Kurtz is jawboning the refs for strictly satirical purposes.

    2. Paul Caviler Schulteacher said, “Interesting article, but I fear you are whistling in the wind.”

      Speaking of whistling, have you and Mr. Kurtz yet figured out that Strzok was FBI Counterespionage Section Chief until 2015 when he was promoted to FBI Counterintelligence Section Deputy Chief under Bill Preistap? Or do you both still mistakenly believe that Counterespionage Section Chief is a job title in the CIA?

      Here’s an idea: If you take the straws at which you are grasping and stretch them along your lips while whistling in the wind you might be able to make a sound like the brass weather-stripping on an old screen door to beat The US Marine Corps’ Marine-Band Harmonica Band. Or not. What do you think?

      1. L4D enables David Benson – Have you figured out that Section Chief is not an FBI title, however it is a CIA title.

        1. Now you know that you are wrong. I gave you a link to that yesterday or the day before yesterday. Strzok’s FBI job title was, in fact, Counterespionage Section Chief until 2015. The notion that the CIA also has Section Chiefs in no way whatsoever refutes the established fact that the FBI has Section Chiefs. Your bluster to the contrary wouldn’t blow out a candle on a bran muffin.

          1. L4D enables David Benson – you gave a link? I didn’t read it. I used to read what you linked and then I realized they never said what you said they did, so I gave up to save myself some time. So, no I do not know I am wrong and I am not going to take your word for it.

            1. From Wikipedia: “By July 2015, Strzok was serving as the section chief of the Counterespionage Section, a subordinate section of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.”

              1. L4D still enables David Benson – I wouldn’t let my students use Wikipedia as a source, why should I let you?

            2. Also from Wikipedia: “Strzok was the Chief of the Counterespionage Section and led the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Strzok rose to become the Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, the second-highest position in that division.”

            3. Doubling down on a losing hand is really dumb as dirt. And don’t give anyone here your typical nonsense about calling a bluff. Your bluster couldn’t inflate a plastic sandwich bag.

              1. ah, are you also a successful gambler?
                what do you do for a living btw? or are you a retiree or perhaps unemployed?
                disabled? professor? professional dilettante?
                just out of curiosity. you seem so smart and sure of yourself.
                I want to know how I, too, can become so smug

      2. i just linked an article that said he was a sheep dipped CIA agent, that’s all, which had some primary sources in it. I didn’t say that he was. I invited you to debunk it if you think it’s false. i don’t know if he was or not. not that a bunch of papers would necessarily prove or disprove a subversive cabal if it existed

  13. “Strzok was just the latest in a long procession of officials, from both Democratic and Republican administrations, who refused to answer questions, produce documents, or otherwise comply with the constitutional authority of Congress to exercise oversight.”
    Yes, Turley, tell us about all the questions Sessions did not answer when he was not lying.
    Then, tell us about why Trump won’t testify before Mueller.
    Then, tell us why the Trump admin will not let the Helsinki translator testify.
    Then, tell us why no one else was allowed in the meeting.
    Then, tell us why you, Turley, who has no privilege to assert, will not address these issues.

    1. HW, you seem to be missing the point of the article. It’s about Congress’ refusal to use the power that’s vested to them.

      This is the problem with the Trump haters. Can’t stick to the subject in discussion.

      1. Uh, Congress can’t get the translator to testify?
        Congress can’t make Trump testify?
        Congress can’t guarantee Mueller’s longevity?
        Congress can’t hold Sessions in contempt?
        Congress can’t insist there are no more one on one meetings with Putin and other foreign leaders?
        You are the one who is off topic, sir.

        1. Again, none of your questions is related to the topic of the opinion. You may consider taking an online class in reading comprehension.

    2. It’s more fun to watch you squirm searching for clues without any answers When all the while it’s tattooed on your face.

    3. I’ll be Demanding those UnRedatuced (sic) FISA Warrants Monday!

      In the mean time back to my night shift job as a piss tester for a growing Beer company. LOL

      18& Titties flying in the wind, I remember:)

    4. well, it’s about proper roles in some cases, and not in others. simple as that.

      btw, who’s calling for the translator to testify? nobody with any authority to ask
      and it would be really stupid to do so, but, that didn’t stop you from pretending it was a good question.

  14. It is often posited that the three branches of American government are co-equal.

    That could not be further from the truth.

    To demonstrate its superior position of dominion as the representative of the “Sovereign,” the People, Congress should enhance and

    accelerate the “process” of impeachment and take out the entire 7th Floor before the end of August, just for openers.

    The Founders intended this prevailing authority for Congress, the “Sovereign,” the People – they may vote and they may impeach.

    Let’s get this party started.
    _____________________

    Article 2, Section 4

    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

  15. Phil mudd, CNN “intel expert” said last week that he wonders when the shadow government will step up and do something to stop this president. Outrageous. That’s where we are at. There’s no doubt now who is in charge. Rosenstein and mueller. Pathetic.

    1. The shadow government are indeed being shadowed themselves by those whose duty includes defending the Cnnstitution. They are of no consequence except a quick arrest and a quicker disappearance. All in the public eye.;

  16. The rule of law has been destroyed by the shadow government in this country…a real shame. Very sad

    1. This “Deep State” entity which you’ve so cleverly uncovered is intriguing. It appears that through your dogged and indefatigable sleuthing, you have uncovered a nefarious cabal of ne’er-do-wells, seemingly hell-bent on eradicating our ‘Merican way of life, our love of cheetos and chocolate, or fluoridating our precious bodily fluids, or some such.

      this is to”anyone [does not] not believe” bobbie

      1. Marky Mark Mark – you are cut-and-pasting again. Shame, shame, shame. At least try to be original. You are as boring as Patriot.

  17. They live a privileged life, their medical coverage is paid for, their retirement is paid for and their able to conduct insider trading with impunity. Get rid of one another takes their place and the one goes to a high paying core stiporate job or becomes a fixer or a bagman or bag woman. Not just Congress themselves. Huma Gotcha was and maybe still is Hilllarys baggage handler.

    But they got her on the securities violations so she MIGHT do what Lisa Page did and turn states evidence IF she follows through. Either way she’s protected.

    Why do we constantly harp on Hillary? Because somewhere there is a crack that only needs pried open …just a smidgen. I suspect one of her former staff but then you have to get her indicted ….. Not by Meuller. .

    He used to be a former Marine not he’s an ex Marine. The only way to prove that statement false, my statement, is bring someone to trial that fit’s the description.

    Otherwise he gets to live his life out as an ex marine who broke his oath of office.

    1. Hoiw are you doing at age 15 so far? And that’s all you have to say? My how quickly the fall. Never mind. It’s not over still time to pull the cord and read up on PLFs

      1. Michael Aarethun, after that word salad and worse in other comments, please visit with a mental health professional!

  18. Hopefully, someone in DC will read this and deal with the issues you have raised. I don’t think that person will be Jeff Sessions however.

    1. Hoiw are you doing at age 15 so far? And that’s all you have to say? My how quickly the fall. Never mind. It’s not over still time to pull the cord and read up on PLFs

      1. I like how this program writes it’s own version …

        Jeff Sessions. Was chosen to be useful tool and deflect away without doing much. But in his own way he has unearthed and publicized his share of the system ….Now to see how the voters respond.

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