On Wednesday, CNN published text messages between the former second-in-command in FBI counterintelligence, Peter Strzok, and his mistress and co-worker Lisa Page. Strzok was involved in the Hillary Clinton email investigation, instrumental in helping to launch the investigation into supposed collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, and staffed on the Trump-Russia investigation itself. He was fired by special investigator Robert Mueller after these texts were uncovered.
Now, one of those texts may wound the special investigation beyond repair.
That text is dated August 15, 2016. Strzok texted Page, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe’s] office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…”
This looks an awful lot like motivation for launching an investigation into Trump in order to sink Trump as a hedge against Trump’s victory. The FBI’s investigation into Russian governmental interference in the election began in July 2016, just weeks before Strzok’s text message. And that means that there is now more of a smoking gun of FBI corruption against Trump than there is of Trump colluding with Russia.
How can Mueller come back from that? He’s fired Strzok and Page, but if the investigation was initially a political hit job, how can it now turn into something good and decent, particularly in the absence of a smoking gun regarding collusion? It’s not just that this is fruit of the poisonous tree — there’s no fruit to show, just the poisonous tree. And as Victor Davis Hanson has written, the Mueller team is filled top-to-bottom with political activists who have a specific anti-Trump agenda.
All of which means that President Trump isn’t wrong to suspect that Mueller wants to aim for a political skull-blow against him. Trump could theoretically use these texts as a reason for firing Mueller altogether — and that wouldn’t be completely unjustified. It would be politically unwise. At this point, Trump’s best tactic is to sit tight — now, no matter what, half the country is going to believe that Mueller’s investigation was never motivated by truth. That’s a win for Trump, and an automatic loss for Mueller.