Fox News’ Shep Smith and Judge Andrew Napolitano on Tuesday downplayed the significance of an FBI agent’s personal political views in relation to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference and Donald Trump’s associates.
Smith and Napolitano were discussing reports that Peter Strzok, the FBI agent removed from Mueller’s investigation for political bias, “changed a key word, or series of words, in former FBI director James Comey’s statement on the Hillary Clinton email investigation.”
Tuesday, CNN reported Strzok downgraded Comey’s characterization of Clinton’s email use from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
“The cry is that the wording was changed, and this changes everything,” Smith said.
“Okay, we’re talking about the wording in a public statement that then-FBI Director Jim Comey made about whether or not the FBI thought Mrs. Clinton should be charged with espionage,” Napolitano explained adding that same agent “sent some texts to his girlfriend … and in those texts he was either critical of the president or praiseworthy of Mrs. Clinton.”
“Shouldn’t that matter?” Smith wondered.
“No, it should not matter,” Napolitano explained. “Because when a document is prepared, like the one from which Jim Comey read, which was of profound significance … a lot of people have their hands in there suggesting language to the director.”
“The director of the FBI doesn’t release anything other than, ‘hello, goodbye, see you tomorrow’ without a number of people looking at it because it might become scrutinized by a court someday,” the judge added.
Referring to reports that Strzok also conducted the interview of onetime Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, during which Flynn allegedly lied to the FBI, Napolitano once again denied the significance of that development.
“That interview, the transcript of that interview, was scrutinized by at least a half-dozen other agents and by the 13 lawyers in Bob Mueller’s office, and they decided it was a lie,” the judge said. “It didn’t matter who asked the question. The crime is lying to the FBI, not lying to Mother Theresa, the FBI agents don’t have to be clothed with absolute perfection in order to do their jobs.”
“So you’re saying there’s no ‘there’ there, at all?” Smith asked
“There’s no ‘there’ there,” Napolitano concurred.
Asked by Smith why Mueller reassigned Strzok, Napolitano explained, “sometimes you want to deflect criticisms before the criticism comes.”
“So this is not a thing?” Smith pressed.
“I don’t think it is,” Napolitano replied. “The question is what evidence does Bob Mueller have.”
Trump betting he can win re-election by spinning new conspiracy theories to explain investigations: report
Special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into President Donald Trump's association with Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 presidential election may be over. But that does not mean the president is free from oversight.
According to Politico, Trump is still facing 15 civil and criminal probes by at least nine federal, state, and municipal agencies on everything from obstruction of justice to campaign finance violations to using his office to enrich his family and businesses. But president is not bothered by these investigations — or at least, he believes that he can use them to his political advantage.
Meet the mysterious conservative lawyer who keeps turning up in the Russia probes
A prominent conservative lawyer keeps showing up in dramas central to the Trump administration and its battles with Congress—and it turns out he has intimate knowledge of Felix Sater’s intelligence work for the U.S. government while he was working with Trump.
The Moscow-born Sater is the financial criminal and violent felon who worked closely with Trump for years while simultaneously serving as a long-term informant for the FBI and other national security agencies.
In 2015 and into mid-2016, Sater pushed for the development of a Trump Tower in Moscow with his old friend Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer, while trying to enlist support from the Russian government for Trump’s campaign.
House Democrats have a new list of ‘star witnesses’ who are beyond Trump’s reach: report
According to a report from Politico, House leaders have developed a new plan to get what are called "star witnesses" to appear in public hearings who are outside of Donald Trump's ability to block them from speaking by asserting executive privilege.
With former Oval Office employees avoiding or ignoring subpoenas as the White House runs interference for them, investigators are eyeing people who were close to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign -- but were not government employees.