Sep 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Peter Strzok alleges investigators found it "conceivable" Trump was controlled by Russia


Former FBI agent Peter Strzok. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Ex-FBI agent Peter Strzok alleges in his new memoir, "Compromised," that investigators believed it was "conceivable, if unlikely" that President Trump was controlled by Russia after being elected in 2016, per the Washington Post.

What he's saying: "Given what we knew or had cause to suspect about Trump’s compromising behavior in the weeks, months, and years leading up to the election, moreover, it also seemed conceivable, if unlikely, that Moscow had indeed pulled off the most stunning intelligence achievement in human history: secretly controlling the president of the United States — a Manchurian candidate elected," Strzok wrote.

  • “We certainly had evidence that this was the case: that Trump, while gleefully wreaking havoc on America’s political institutions and norms, was pulling his punches when it came to our historic adversary, Russia,” Strzok writes.
  • “Trump’s apparent lies — public, sustained, refutable, and damaging if exposed — are an intelligence officer’s dream,” Strzok adds. “For that very reason, they are also a counterintelligence officer’s nightmare.”

Why it matters: Strzok helped open the FBI’s probe into Trump’s 2016 campaign and possible coordination with the Kremlin.

The former FBI deputy assistant director was dismissed from his role in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and became a talking point for Trump after the Department of Justice discovered that Strzok had exchanged disparaging text messages about the president from his FBI phone.

  • In his book, Strzok draws from his 20 years as a counterintelligence investigator "to explain how the elevation by President Trump and his collaborators of Trump’s own personal interests over the interests of the country allowed Putin to succeed beyond Stalin’s wildest dreams."

The big picture: Strzok’s book isn't the only disclosure from former agency officials on investigations into Trump. Both former FBI director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe have pursued similar book projects.

What to watch: Strzok's memoir is set to be released on Sept. 8.

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