Former FBI investigator Peter Strzok, who was pulled from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team after it was revealed he exchanged text messages mocking President Trump, was reportedly behind the decision to change then-FBI Director James Comey’s description of Hillary Clinton’s email use from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
CNN reported Monday that Peter Strzok not only led the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state but was also partly behind the change in Comey’s draft language to the “extremely careless” phrase which was seen as a damning indictment of Clinton’s behavior—even though Comey decided not to recommend charges when he made the announcement in July 2016.
Clinton, then in the midst of a bruising presidential campaign fight against then-candidate Trump, was perhaps fortunate to escape without a charge recommendation. However, the phrase “extremely careless” was featured in most news reports on her email usage, and rang in the ears of voters all the way to Election Day.
Yet, the phrase “grossly negligent” would have almost certainly been more powerful, and also carries connotations of criminal activity. CNN notes that federal law has criminal penalties for “gross negligence” in the handling of classified material.
Many opponents of Clinton, including President Trump, have implied or stated outright that they believe Clinton got away without being charged due to her status as a high-profile Democratic politician.
CNN also reports that Strzok was the official who, as one of the FBI’s top experts on Russia, was the man who signed the document opening a probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Also on Monday, the Sean Hannity Radio Show published an exclusive report by Circa’s Sara Carter on the bureau’s interviews of former national security advisor Michael Flynn—who last week pled guilty to lying to the FBI during those interviews. According to Carter, Strzok was one of two agents who interviewed Flynn in January at the White House.
President Trump has seized on the revelations about Strzok’s texting as evidence of allegedly biased behavior, tweeting on Monday morning: “Now it all starts to make sense!”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.