News Round-Up: December 30, 2019

Steve_in_la (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: For some #ManCrushMonday action, I’m checking in with woofy Steve_in_la (above) who’s on the most fab European holiday trip. Check him out in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. I don’t know who’s more gorgeous – Steve or the Palace… 🙂

• CBS News: Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia fired a group of recently graduated corrections officers Monday after they made a gesture resembling a Nazi salute in their class photo. Justice also fired a staffer at the state’s corrections officer academy and suspended four instructors without pay for failing to report the picture. In a statement, Justice said, “This kind of behavior will not be tolerated on my watch in any agency of State government.”

Washington Post: Over the course of his presidency, Trump has visited a Trump-owned or branded property on three out of every 10 days. Slightly more: Of the 1,075 days on which he has been president, he has visited Mar-a-Lago or a Trump Something-or-other on 331 of them, 31 percent of the time. Note – At a rally on Aug. 8, 2016, Trump assured the audience that, “because I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

Politico: Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who launched the bureau’s Russia probe in 2016 and was fired two years later for sending text messages critical of Donald Trump, has alleged in a new court filing challenging his dismissal that the FBI and Justice Department violated his rights to free speech and privacy.

• Gallup: Barack Obama and Donald Trump tied this year as the most admired man. It is Obama’s 12th time in the top spot versus the first for Trump. Michelle Obama is the most admired woman for the second year in a row.

NewNowNext: After returning to the West End production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, drag star Bianca Del Rio was not having a woman in the audience who filmed the first act of the musical on her phone, which was noticed by the cast of the show, including Bianca. “Dear blonde bitch with glasses, Thanks for distracting the ENTIRE CAST and SEVERAL PEOPLE AROUND YOU as you filmed during all of ACT ONE with your phone in your hand. This is not a concert, theme park or even a cruise ship… it’s THE THEATRE! RESPECT IT!”

FBI Agent Peter Strzok: My Text Messages Were In Response To Trump’s ‘Disgusting Behavior’

Earlier today, FBI agent Peter Strzok resoundingly denounced the approach and tone House Republicans took during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
FBI agent Peter Strzok

Earlier today, FBI agent Peter Strzok resoundingly denounced the approach and tone House Republicans took during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

This is amazing.

“Sir, I think it’s important when you look at those texts that you understand the context in which they were made, and the things that were going on across America. In terms of the texts that, ‘We will stop it.’ You need to understand that that was written late at night, off-the-cuff and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and my presumption based on that horrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States.

“It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process, for any candidate. So I take great offense and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn’t.

“As to the ‘100 million to one’ that was clearly a statement made in jest and using hyperbole, I of course recognize that millions of Americans were likely to vote for candidate Trump. I acknowledge that is absolutely their right, that is what makes our democracy such a vibrant process that it is.

“But to suggest somehow that we can parse down the words of shorthand textual conversations like they’re some contract for a car is simply not consistent with my or most people’s use of text messaging. I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, at no time, in any of these texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took.

“Furthermore, this isn’t just me sitting here telling you you don’t have to take my word for it. At every step, at every investigative decision, there are multiple layers of people above me, the assistant director, executive assistant director, deputy director and director of the FBI, and multiple layers of people below me, section chiefs, supervisors, unit chiefs, case agents and analysts, all of whom were involved in all of these decisions. They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me any more than I would tolerate it in them.

“That is who we are as the FBI. And the suggestion that I in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn’t happen. And the proposition that that is going on, that it might occur anywhere in the FBI, deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.”

And when he finished, there was applause in the chamber.

Strzok is accused of anti-Trump bias during the 2016 while investigating possible Russian interference in the election.

A late night text to a colleague has been the basis of personal attacks against him.

As has been established, there is no law preventing an FBI agent from having a personal opinion as long as it doesn’t come into play with their work.

Watch below.

(h/t JoeMyGod)