Former FBI agent Peter Strzok said Sunday that he believed President Donald Trump was ‘compromised’ by the Russians.
‘I believed at the time in 2016 and I continue to believe that Donald Trump is compromised by the Russians,’ Strzok told NBC’s Chuck Todd on ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘And when I say that I mean that they hold leverage over him that makes him incapable of placing the national interest, the national security ahead of his own.’
Strzok is one-half of the ‘FBI lovers,’ who Trump targeted after anti-Trump texts the agent sent to his ex-mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, came to light.
Former FBI agent Peter Strzok said Sunday he believes President Donald Trump is ‘compromised’ by the Russians
Peter Strzok (left) was one-half of the ‘FBI lovers,’ which also included his former mistress Lisa Page (right), a former FBI lawyer
The president has tried to use the text messages as evidence that the FBI’s Russia probe was biased, as Strzok was – for a time – the most senior agent working on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
On ‘Meet the Press,’ Strzok, a Russia expert, explained that being compromised by a power ‘takes a variety of forms.’
‘One of the largest ways that people in foreign governments gain leverage, certainly in the case of the president, is through financial entanglements,’ he said.
‘And I think when you take a look at the Trump financial enterprise, particularly its relationship with Russian, with Russian monies and potentially those related to organized crime and other elements, that those interactions have placed him in a position where the Russians have leverage over him and are able to influence his actions,’ the former agent continued.
Todd brought up how Trump’s original personal lawyer Michael Cohen – now out with an anti-Trump book – had been secretly working in 2016 on a Trump Tower Moscow project.
Additionally, he pointed to Rudy Giuliani’s travels to Ukraine in order to pressure the government there to investigate Hunter and Joe Biden, Trump’s political rival.
Giuliani was working with a Russian operative who ended up being sanctioned by the U.S. government.
‘What do those two facts tell you about the president?’ Todd asked.
Strzok said, ‘It tells me that he is surrounded by people who have a pervasive pattern of contact with the Russians, and not only contat, but contact that they’re hiding.’
Strzok pointed to the cases of Paul Manafort, who he said was ‘dealing with people affiliated with Russian intelligence services.’
And also campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser, who both lied about their contacts with Russians.
‘It is not without exaggeration that there is no president in modern history who has the same broad and deep connections to any foreign intel service, let alone a hostile government like Russia,’ Strzok said.
Strzok answered ‘absolutely not’ when asked by Todd if he concluded there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after reading the Mueller Report.
‘I concluded the opposite,’ Strzok said.
He explained that while Mueller was focused on finding violations of the law, that’s different than how a counterintelligence opposite would look at the evidence.
‘When I read the Mueller report, and certainly when I looked at the recent bipartisan Senate Intel Committee report, almost 1000 pages, laying out all of these areas of intelligence connections between the Trump and his administration in his campaign and Russia, that’s extraordinarily concerning from a counterintelligence perspective,’ the former FBI agent said. ‘Because a relationship of counterintelligence concern is a completely different matter from proving something in a court of law.’
Todd also asked Strzok about his infamous text messages to Page.
‘I certainly regret sending the text messages that were absolutely weaponized and used to bludgeon the work of the FBI, the work of the special counsel, I’ll always regret that,’ Strzok said.
But the official also called out the Trump administration for making him a household name.
‘This administration has shown no boundaries in going after people in ways that frankly is shocking, are shocking and are inappropriate,’ he said.