Apparently there is no one too sleazy for NBC to prop up as respectable. As long as they are trashing Donald Trump, that’s enough. On Tuesday, the Today show hyped felon Michael Cohen. On Labor Day, reporter Hallie Jackson lied as she promoted the new book of disgraced ex-FBI agent Peter Strzok.
The married Strzok, who was having an affair with another FBI agent, texted his lover that he would “stop” Trump from being elected and that Hillary Clinton should win “100 million to zero.” Yet journalist Hallie Jackson took him seriously, featuring the FBI agent saying, “There is no more urgent election in our lifetime from a counterintelligence perspective." Jackson observed, “And that’s why, less than two months before election day, former FBI agent Peter Strzok is pulling no punches.”
The facts and reality of Strzok’s claims not being proven didn’t stop the NBC journalist. She intoned, “He believes the President has been with foreign countries holding leverage over him. It is a message in the starkest of terms.”
The two simply tossed conspiracy theories about, asking Trump to prove his innocence:
HALLIE JACKSON: Now, Strzok is still worried about unfinished business. Do you believe the Russians still have hidden leverage over the President?
PETER STRZOK: I think that's a fair assumption.
Below is where Jackson simply lied. She finally got around to the text messages and the ex-FBI agent’s call to “stop” Trump from winning in 2016:
His dismissal coming after the discovery of text messages he exchanged with a co-worker with whom he was having an affair. Texts like “F Trump. Hillary should win 100 million to zero.” And about a possible Trump victory, “We'll stop it.” Giving ammunition to the President and his supporters who believed the FBI was working against President Trump. A watchdog report found no political bias motivating the investigation.
When it comes to Strzok's specific role, that's not true. Here’s what The Washington Post said about the Inspector General findings in June of 2018:
The inspector general did not find evidence supporting assertions made by the president and his allies that political bias inside the FBI had rigged the case to clear Clinton, but the report cited numerous instances of unprofessionalism, bias and misjudgment that hurt the bureau’s credibility. In particular, the report singled out lead agent Peter Strzok as showing anti-Trump bias that could have affected his thinking on the case during the immediate run-up to the 2016 election.
The inspector general concluded that Strzok’s text, along with others disparaging Trump, “is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”
Exactly the opposite of what of what Jackson claimed. Yet the NBC journalist treated Strzok like some bold truth teller, saying, “You are ringing the alarm bell…. Do you think people will listen to it?”
Remember, this is the man who, after the woman he was sleeping with texted him fretting over whether Trump would become president, responded, “No. No, he’s not. We’ll stop it.” That’s some alarm bell.
A transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.
PETER ALEXANDER: Up next, Hallie Jackson’s conversation with a controversial figure, Peter Strzok, a former FBI central to the Russia investigation, now weighing in on the presidential race. Why he said voters should trust and heed his warning before election day.
7:39:32 AM ET to 7:43:50
SHEINELLE JONES: We are back at 7:39 with in-depth today. Headline-making new claims from the former senior FBI agent at the center of the bureau's Russia investigation.
ALEXANDER: In a new memoir, Peter Strzok takes sharp aim at the man he once investigated, President Trump. And NBC’s chief Washington correspondent Hallie Jackson sat down with him. Hallie, good morning.
HALLIE JACKSON: Peter, Sheinelle, good morning to you. To the President, Peter Strzok is a symbol of what he believes is the deep state trying to take him down. And he has targeted the former FBI agent with a number of insults, including calling him a fraud. But Strzok calls his new book Compromised because he believes the President has been with foreign countries holding leverage over him. It is a message in the starkest of terms.
PETER STRZOK: There is no more urgent election in our lifetime from a counterintelligence perspective.
JACKSON: And that’s why, less than two months before election day, former FBI agent Peter Strzok is pulling no punches.
STRZOK: Without exaggeration, President Trump's counterintelligence vulnerabilities are exponentially greater than any president in modern history.
JACKSON: So do you think the president is a national security threat?
STRZOK: I do.
JACKSON: Strzok helped open the campaign into the Trump campaign 2016. So involved he named the operation Crossfire Hurricane after a Rolling Stones song stuck in his head. [Clip of the song.] And he's one of the agents former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to about his conversations with then Russian ambassador to the U.S., charges the Justice Department recently moved to dismiss.
STRZOK: I think that is a miscarriage of justice
JACKSON: What do you attribute it to?
STRZOK: Political pressure. Improper political pressure from the White House and the Department of Justice.
JACKSON: Now, Strzok is still worried about unfinished business. Do you believe the Russians still have hidden leverage over the President?
STRZOK: I think that's a fair assumption.
STRZOK: I think when you look at President Trump and the efforts he is taking to fighting tooth and nail to prevent, for instance, the release of his tax records, there is something there he doesn't want out.
JACKSON: Strzok, a key part of the team investigating Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, also worked briefly with special counsel in 2017, looking into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia before being removed and later fired. His dismissal coming after the discovery of text messages he exchanged with a co-worker with whom he was having an affair. Texts like “F Trump. Hillary should win 100 million to zero.” And about a possible Trump victory, “We'll stop it.” Giving ammunition to the President and his supporters who believed the FBI was working against President Trump. A watchdog report found no political bias motivating the investigation.
STRZOK: These outside independent people have concluded this was entirely proper.
JACKSON: To some people in this country, your credibility is simply and frankly shot. They just don't believe what you're saying because of some of your past actions, the text messages, et cetera. Why should those people believe you now that you are coming out and sounding the alarm bell about President Trump?
STRZOK: Listen to what I have to say. I guarantee you whoever you are in America, you are not going to step away from that without a deep, deep concern about our President's interactions and relationship with the government of Russia.
JACKSON: In a statement, the White House calls Strzok's book “utter nonsense,” adding, quote, “He is now trying to make money selling the same lies for which he was fired.”
DONALD TRUMP: Strzok and page, the lovers, the great lovers.
JACKSON: The President himself described him as a” minion,” “sick loser” and accused him of treason.
STRZOK: It is angering. It is -- it makes you -- it promotes fear. It is fearful. The second thing it is enormously frustrating because it's not the truth and it strips away your identity at least with some, whatever push in the population is listening and believing the President.
JACKSON: You had to go writing this book would reignite those things. Why do it?
STRZOK: Because it is important to get the message out.
JACKSON: You are ringing the alarm bell.
STRZOK: I AM.
JACKSON: Do you think people will listen to it?
STRZOK: I hope so. I think so.
JACKSON: Even with you as the messenger?
JACKSON: The Republican-led Senate Judiciary committee has authorized subpoenas for officials, including Strzok. He tells me if he is subpoenaed, he will testify. Peter, Sheinelle?