Sometimes, you can tell the big story of the day by what CNN is not covering — or by how the heavily biased network covers what they think is the big story.
"Trump's Russia defense in disarray," blared the CNN website headline on Tuesday morning.
So, clearly, the real story is just the opposite. Here's the real headline of the day: "Mueller Credibility Plunges, Trump Probe Imploding." Subhead: "Should he step down?"
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller was sold to America as an above-the-fray, non-partisan elder with the gravitas to handle investigating the President of the United States. As it turns out, Mueller has put together a pack of partisan lawyers, many of whom contributed campaign cash to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats; stonewalled demands from House lawmakers for information; and, most recently, secretly demoted a heavily biased FBI agent who's a hater of President Trump.
The special prosecutor's probe, which has already cost taxpayers some $5 million, hit a massive speed bump last week — the kind that snaps the axles and blows out the transmission. Reports emerged in both The Washington Post and The New York Times that a lead FBI investigator sent anti-Trump texts to a mistress. Weirdly, the investigator, Peter Strzok, wasn't fired, just quietly demoted to the Bureau's human resources department.
Then the shoes kept dropping — like Imelda Marcos having a yard sale. It turns out Strzok was one of former FBI Director James Comey's top lieutenants. From that perch, he played a key role in the early probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
But then it was revealed that before that, Strzok led the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal and sat in on her "interview" with the Bureau (during which she was not under oath and for which no transcript or tape has ever been produced). And Strzok also led interviews with all of Clinton's top aides: Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Heather Samuelson.
"Electronic records show Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey's earlier draft language describing Clinton's actions as 'grossly negligent' to 'extremely careless,' the sources said," CNN reported. (Good job, Clinton News Network!)
But wait, there's more. Much more.
Strzok was a "key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump 'dossier' and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate," Fox News reported.
The dossier was a compilation of rumors and lies about Trump put together by an opposition research team contracted by Democrats called Fusion GPS. Fusion's records, obtained by House investigators, show the dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Strzok interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who last week pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. On January 24, Strzok and another agent interviewed Flynn, according to an intelligence official.
So Strzok just happened to be everywhere, his fingerprints on everything — Trump, Hillary, the dossier, Flynn. Quite a coincidence.
Back to Mueller. The special prosecutor didn't announce the termination of Strzok, nor his reassignment. Instead, word just leaked out. Both Mueller and the Justice Department kept the information of Strzok's biased texts from House investigators, who had been demanding more information for weeks — had even issued subpoenas.
"Oh, and the woman with whom he supposedly exchanged anti-Trump texts, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, worked for both Mr. Mueller and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, who was accused of a conflict of interest in the Clinton probe when it came out that Clinton allies had donated to the political campaign of Mr. McCabe’s wife," The Wall Street Journal reported. "The texts haven’t been publicly released, but it’s fair to assume their anti-Trump bias must be clear for Mr. Mueller to reassign such a senior agent."
While some praise Mueller for acting to remove a biased agent from his team, others see an attempt to bury the whole matter. The very underpinnings of the Trump-Russia collusion probe were predicated on the infamous dossier, which may also have led to the government wiretapping Trump officials (again, the House has demanded information about the surveillance, but both the FBI and Justice are stonewalling).
"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mr. Mueller, is also playing an increasingly questionable role in resisting congressional oversight. Justice has floated multiple reasons for ignoring House subpoenas, none of them persuasive," the Journal said.
"First it claimed cooperation would hurt the Mueller probe, but his prosecutions are proceeding apace. Then Justice claimed that providing House investigators with classified material could hurt security or sources. But House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has as broad a security clearance as nearly anyone in government. Recently Justice said it can’t interfere with a probe by the Justice Department Inspector General—as if an IG trumps congressional oversight."
So, despite CNN's take — "Trump's Russia defense in disarray" — it's really Mueller that has the huge problem. The avuncular, 73 year old who led the FBI for a dozen years is now so utterly compromised that there's no way he can continue to lead the probe into Trump and Russia.
But "Mueller must step down" is not a headline you're likely to read on the CNN website any time soon.