October 2, 2020

Sure "Trump has Covid" is the only thing people want to talk about today. Don't forget that Trump encourages White Nationalists, election tampering, and is a threat to national security, TOO. Brianna Keilar's CNN interview with Peter Strzok, the ex-FBI counterterrorism expert, was firm about Trump's courting of white supremacists and election rigging rhetoric: It is a threat to the nation's security that must not be ignored.

BRIANNA KEILLAR, CNN: I want to talk about the national security implications with this with Peter Strzok. He worked in the espionage section before he was fired. He's now suing the Justice Department, saying that his firing was politically motivated. He is the author of the book "compromised: counterintelligence and the threat of Donald Trump." You write in the book, "I don't feel that I have the option of keeping quiet about the danger to our national strategy. False claims about voter fraud. Failing to denounce the threat of white supremacy in a very clear way." Do you think the president is a national security threat?

PETER STRZOK: Brianna, thank you for having me. Yes, I do. I started in the FBI mid-'90s and I worked the beginning of my career against the domestic terrorism group with violent white supremacists and time after time again, research and the investigations we saw, proved time and again that this sort of acknowledgement certainly from anybody in a position of power is both a powerful recruiting tool -- and we see that going on right now -- and more insidiously, it sort of builds an acceptance within the general mental state of America that this is okay. And for the president to be saying that, is really damaging, and more than a societal damage. That is a damage to the nation as a whole. And then of course that's just one facet of everything we see in sort of a revelation of his tax records showing this financial exposure to foreign nations, but it presents a picture of a man who is in fact a danger in my opinion to the US national security.

KEILLAR: I want to talk to you about the financials in a moment but just back to your point about opposing extremists, and this is obviously something as you said you have experience with. When the Department of Homeland Security has a draft assessment saying white supremacists are the most lethal threat to the US, what are the concerns that the FBI would have about how that could play out?

STRZOK: I think the FBI has the knowledge through investigations of looking at all the incidents of violence in America and the preponderance of the attacks are a link to ideology that involves some sort of racial supremacy.
That's concerning because that is what's a lot of these cases driving people towards violence and it is something we absolutely have to be taking a stand against. The FBI can investigate and the Department of Justice can prosecute it, but it takes more than that. We have to have the sort of leadership coming from the top of our nation all the way down in our government, in our society, saying this is not acceptable. Racial violence is not who we are, and any instance of it should be snuffed out and stifled and denounced, not accepted, not the things we hear from the president.

KEILLAR: So explain why it is so clear or why it's so important for the president to be clear. We hear the White House say over and over, he has denounced it, but when I think of the occasional denouncement, it is like pulling teeth. Under considerable pressure. A couple days after Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, sure is not a denunciation, right? That is not a clear word. Explain why even as the White House insists people want to "dictate the language of the president," why clear language is so important.

STRZOK: He shouldn't be issuing apologies. The first thing he said should be denouncing it. He should not give the muffled excuses. When he talked about Charlottesville he said "there's good people on both sides of the issue" and that's reprehensible. Referencing the Proud Boys to "stand by" is reprehensible. It's not enough to have an explanation afterwards. That's not okay. In the first instance he should be seeking to tamp down unrest, seeking inclusion, denouncing. How's it objectionable? How can it be problematic to say "I'm against racial violence?" To have any other position at all is simply unacceptable with what we stand for as a nation and every person needs to think through what it is coming out of the mouth of the President of the United States.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.