Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has yet again jumped on the slightest adverse news regarding the Trump administration to call for an investigation.
Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, used a New York Times article from late August to draft a six-page letter demanding inspectors general at the Justice Department and in the intelligence committee investigate allegations that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hampered the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The letter quotes heavily from a Times report from Michael Schmidt, which was adapted from his book, “Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President.”
Relying on anonymous sources, Schmidt wrote: “The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia.” The report also claimed Rosenstein “curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere.”
As the Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy reported, however, many of the prominent anti-Trump officials who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation disputed the Times report shortly after it was published.
Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, famous for having an affair with another FBI official and discussing an “insurance policy” in case Trump won the election, said in September that the Times reporting was inaccurate.
“During the time I worked at the Special Counsel’s Office, I didn’t feel such a limitation,” Strzok told The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum. “When I discussed this with Mueller and others, it was agreed that FBI personnel attached to the Special Counsel’s Office would do the counterintelligence work, which necessarily included the president. But that’s an extraordinarily complex task, one of the most difficult counterintelligence investigations in the FBI’s history.”
Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor for Mueller, also disputed the Times article.
“NYT story today is wrong re: alleged secret DOJ order prohibiting a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller, ‘without telling the bureau.’ Dozens of FBI agents/analysts were embedded in Special Counsel’s Office and we were never told to keep anything from them,” Weissmann said after the article was published.
As Dunleavy noted, Mueller’s own report contradicted the claims in the Times article on which Schiff relied.
“From its inception, the Office recognized that its investigation could identify foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information relevant to the FBI’s broader national security mission. FBI personnel who assisted the Office established procedures to identify and convey such information to the FBI,” Mueller’s report said. “The FBI’s Counterintelligence Division met with the Office regularly for that purpose for most of the Office’s tenure. For more than the past year, the FBI also embedded personnel at the Office who did not work on the Special Counsel’s investigation, but whose purpose was to review the results of the investigation and to send — in writing — summaries of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to FBIHQ and FBI Field Offices.”