Peter Strzok is back in the news this week. Career colleagues at the Justice Department previously referred Strzok for possible criminal charges and he was fired for his bias and unprofessional conduct. However, Strzok was immediately embraced by many in the media and establishment for his anti-Trump sentiments. After he was fired, the former special agent was given a lucrative book deal, lionized on the left, featured prominently as an expert by CNN, and given a teaching job at Georgetown. It was an extraordinary recovery from a scandal where he showed flagrant bias, engaged in an affair with another married colleague at the FBI, and fought to continue to investigate Russian collusion claims despite early warnings over the questionable basis of the allegations pushed by the Clinton campaign. (Strzok’s colleague and former paramour, Lisa Page, was given a contract as a legal analyst with NBC and MSNBC). Now, Strzok appears liberated in showing precisely the bias and unhinged hostility alleged by his critics. He has been in the news lashing out at Trump and trolling his objections to the raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The seizure of Trump’s passports has raised more doubts about the seemingly unlimited scope of the search. One of the passports taken in the raid was Trump’s active diplomatic passport, according to an email from the Justice Department made public by the Trump team. The other two passports reportedly were expired.
Last week, Strzok was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon with CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell, who blasted out a tweet claiming DOJ sources refuting Trump’s claim that the FBI took his passports. The “CBS Evening News” anchor reported that the Department of Justice did not have Trump’s passports, tweeting, “According to a DOJ official, the FBI is NOT in possession of former President Trump’s passports.”
Notably, Strzok was also among those eager to spread the O’Donnell report, tweeting, “And unsurprisingly, Trump’s statement turns out not to be true.” He later deleted it.
Strzok has sounded at times like a virtual troll on social media. Recently, he again lashed out at the story that the FBI took Trump’s passport and mocked Trump’s call to lower the temperature in the country after the raid. Strzok tweeted “Please oh please keep asking how you can turn down the temperature in the country,. And why does he have two passports? The Russian passport, of course, is kept in a vault at Yasenevo and only swapped out at third country meets, so it can’t be that one.”
Strzok often seems to lack any self-awareness of his past controversy. He has been on MSNBC defending the raid and insisting that “absolutely the American public should trust what the FBI is doing.” He insisted that any doubts over the FBI’s objectivity are ridiculous: “It’s not that the FBI is targeting any one side or the other. What you see is the FBI going out on a day-in, day-out basis objectively investigating allegations of law.” Yet, it is Strzok’s own conduct that had led to many having doubt about the motivation and independence of the department.