“Former FBI official Peter Strzok told Special Counsel Robert Mueller early in the Trump-Russia probe that he doubted the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election, saying that the president’s associates were “a confederacy of dunces who were too dumb to collude” with the Kremlin.
Strzok shared details of his interaction with Mueller in his book, “Compromised” which hits stores on Tuesday.
“Is this a coordinated conspiracy?” Mueller asked Strzok, according to the book, details of which were reported by NBC News.
“I was skeptical that all the different threads amounted to anything more than bumbling incompetence, a confederacy of dunces who were too dumb to collude,” wrote Strzok, who served as deputy chief of FBI counterintelligence during the Trump probe. “In my view, they were most likely a collection of grifters pursuing individual personal interests.”
Two days later on September 9, 2020:
“Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, a major player in the Russian collusion hoax against President Trump, when recently called out by a Washington Examiner journalist, admitted that his book contains a major falsehood.
Strzok claimed in his book, Compromised, that Australian diplomat Alexander Downer informed the U.S. government about a conversation he had with then-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos after Papadopoulos allegedly told him in May 2016 that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton and after hearing Trump joke that he hoped Russia would find her lost emails.
He wrote that Downer’s “communication…had been precipitated by a public statement by Donald Trump” and that “Trump’s words jarred his memory of a series of conversations months earlier.”
However, as Washington Examiner‘s Jerry Dunleavy pointed out, Australia had informed the U.S. government of the conversation on July 26, 2016 — one day before Trump had jokingly said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails.”
Strzok was asked about his claim in the book that Downer had informed the U.S. government after he heard Trump’s joke, and Strzok admitted he got that wrong.
“So, I got that wrong. So I was writing my book without the benefit of the notes — the FBI had those — and the IG report had not been issued,” he said.
Strzok claimed that Australians saw a “big dump” of emails through WikiLeaks, which prompted them to recall the conversation and contact the U.S.
Strzok alleged that he got it mixed up because when the FBI counterintelligence division got the information from the Australians, “it was at the same time as Trump was making those comments, which were really concerning.”
(Timeline editor’s note: The “big dump of emails” that Strzok refers to were DNC emails, not Clinton emails, as was originally discussed between Downer and Papadopoulos.)