Chuck Todd Freaks Out Over Peter Strzok Firing: ‘Extraordinary and Un-democratic’

Taking to Twitter Tuesday morning, NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd lost it over anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok being fired and President Trump praising the dismissal. Ranting that the president’s criticism of Strzok was “extraordinary and un-democratic,” Todd feared that other “civil servants” would be intimidated by the supposed effort to “character assassinate.”

Completely ignoring Strzok’s text messages promising to “stop” Trump’s election in 2016, Todd bemoaned: “I don’t know if folks realize how extraordinary and un-democratic (small d) it is for the president of the United States to run down a civil servant like this...” He then tried to build a criminal case against the president: “Q for legal folks: when does this become an intimidation tactic to the point of legal obstruction?”

In a second tweet moments later, Todd fretted: “I wonder if other civil servants who believe they have seen wrongdoing are watching how POTUS and his echo chamber can character assassinate so viciously and get second thoughts about doing their job given the risk POTUS is showcasing to anyone who crosses him?”

Despite the obvious legitimate reasons for Strzok to be fired, namely him sending numerous anti-Trump texts on a government phone to another FBI official he was having an affair with while he was heading investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Todd mourned the loss.

Appearing on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on Tuesday, legal analyst and former senior FBI official Chuck Rosenberg told Mitchell that the firing was completely justified and defended decision made by Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich to do so:

 

 

Dave Bowdich is the senior most career FBI official in the entire agency. He’s not a political appointment, he’s a career guy who came up through the ranks. Second, as much as I like Peter Strzok, he exhibited remarkably bad judgement. And so, when you go through the factors of whether or not someone’s demoted or suspended or fired, one of those factors is whether you bring disrepute to the agency, whether you bring shame to the FBI. And he did. And so, it’s not a crazy decision. In fact, I understand why Dave Bowdich did it.

Still, Mitchell wrung her hands over Strzok’s dismissal: “Given all the political pressure to get rid of him, he’s become a poster child for the president for everything that he hates about the alleged, so-called ‘witch hunt.’ So – and given his experience of decades of service as the leading counterintelligence expert at a time when America is again under attack from Russia in the upcoming midterms, what’s the balance here?”

While Rosenberg said that it “pains” him to see “a good man and a good agent” like Strzok go, he explained: “Dave Bowdich had to make a decision, in the end, about what’s best for the FBI, not what’s best for Pete Strzok....it wasn’t made for political reasons. It was made because Bowdich thought this was in the best interests of the FBI.”

While Rosenberg rightly chastised Strzok’s “remarkably bad judgement,” when House Republicans grilled the FBI agent during a congressional hearing on July 12, MSNBC lined up a panel of liberal pundits to accuse the GOP of McCarthyism and praise Strzok’s “integrity.”

Here is a transcript of the August 14 exchange between Mitchell and Rosenberg:

12:25 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: And let's also talk about Peter Strzok, because the president has been on a tear today, on a Twitter tear. He said, or wrote today, “Fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok is a fraud, as is the rigged investigation he started. There was no Collusion or Obstruction with Russia, and everybody, including the Democrats, know it.” And in fact, Chuck Todd was tweeting, “un-democratic for the president to run down a civil servant like this.”

Chuck Rosenberg, let’s talk about Peter Strzok. And we know about those e-mails and the embarrassment to the FBI over those e-mails. I’ve seen several former FBI officials saying that his being fired despite the recommendation of the investigators within the internal investigation that he be suspended for 60 days.

CHUCK ROSENBERG [FMR. SENIOR FBI OFFICIAL]: 60, I think, yeah.

MITCHELL: Sixty-day suspension I think it was, and demoted, but not fired. That, that was overruled by the deputy FBI director. And some were on TV last night saying that is appropriate, that he be fired, because he embarrassed the nonpartisan nature of the FBI and called that into disrepute. What say you? You were with the FBI.

ROSENBERG: I was, and I know the deputy director, Dave Bowdich, and I know him to be a good, decent man of integrity .

MITCHELL: He made the decision.

ROSENBERG: And he made the decision. So a couple of things, Andrea. Dave Bowdich is the senior most career FBI official in the entire agency. He’s not a political appointment, he’s a career guy who came up through the ranks. Second, as much as I like Peter Strzok, he exhibited remarkably bad judgement. And so, when you go through the factors of whether or not someone’s demoted or suspended or fired, one of those factors is whether you bring disrepute to the agency, whether you bring shame to the FBI. And he did. And so, it’s not a crazy decision. In fact, I understand why Dave Bowdich did it.

MITCHELL: Given all the political pressure to get rid of him, he’s become a poster child for the president for everything that he hates about the alleged, so-called “witch hunt.” So – and given his experience of decades of service as the leading counterintelligence expert at a time when America is again under attack from Russia in the upcoming midterms, what’s the balance here?

ROSENBERG: That’s what pains me, because he’s a good man and a good agent and he does really important work. On the other hand, Dave Bowdich had to make a decision, in the end, about what’s best for the FBI, not what’s best for Pete Strzok. That’s why difficult decisions go to the deputy director. I don’t envy Bowdich this decision. I can tell you this, it wasn’t made for political reasons. It was made because Bowdich thought this was in the best interests of the FBI. It’s painful. I hate to see this happen.

(...)

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