- Reported by Chuck Ross | Reporter | 5:57 PM 04/26/2018
The Justice Department on Thursday gave Congress five months worth of text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — two FBI officials involved in the investigations into Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump’s campaign.
The messages, exchanged between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017, were initially thought to be missing due to a technical glitch on FBI-issued cell phones. But the texts were recovered by the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general, which is investigating the FBI’s handling of both the Clinton and Trump campaign investigations.
Approximately 300 messages were given to Congress, a Justice Department official told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Strzok, the former deputy chief of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia team in July 2017 after the discovery of the text messages. They showed Strzok and Page expressed deep hostility to Trump during the 2016 campaign.
Strzok oversaw the FBI’s Russia investigation when it began on July 31, 2016. He was also a top investigator on the Clinton email probe. He helped conduct the interviews of Clinton and several of her top aides.
The congressional committees that received the text messages are likely to pour through them to find any information that might shed light on political bias from Strzok and Page as well as their thoughts on the Clinton and Trump investigations. Some of the text messages released so far have drawn scrutiny from congressional Republicans. One in particular is an Aug. 15, 2016, exchange in which Strzok referred to an “insurance policy” he wanted in the event of a Trump election win.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok wrote to Page, referring to a conversation they had in then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s office.
“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Though Strzok was heavily critical of Trump in the texts, he indicated to Page in one exchange he believed there was not much evidence of collusion against the Trump campaign.
“You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern that there’s no big there there,” Strzok wrote to Page on May 19, 2017 — two days after the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.
Strzok was referring to the Russia investigation when he said he believed there was “no big there there,” a source close to Strzok confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Reported by Robert Donachie | Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter | 1:01 AM 04/27/2018
The Daily Caller News Foundation has obtained the missing text messages the Department of Justice released to members of Congress between two former FBI employees who were highly critical of President Donald Trump.
The text messages are between FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI counsel Lisa Page, who were in an ongoing, intimate relationship. The Justice Department was able to recover the text messages, which were exchanged between Dec. 16, 2017 and May 23, 2017, after they were believed to be missing from a technological failure on the part of FBI-issued cell phones.
What the Justice Department released Thursday evening comprises 49 pages, or around 300 text messages.
Many of the text messages in the 49 page release are shorthand and are not entirely clear to the outside interpreter. The congressional committees that obtained the messages Thursday will likely siphon through them to see if, as GOP lawmakers currently believe, there is any evidence of political bias on the part of Strozk and Page.
Strzok was the chief investigator during the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and, notably, watched over the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.
A group of House Republicans are calling for the Department of Justice to investigate Strzok and Page for their potential involvement in a potential interference scheme in the Clinton private email case.
A number of the text messages released thus far between Strzok and Page have caused congressional Republicans to raise their eyebrows.
For example, Strzok told Page that he wanted to have an “insurance policy” in the off chance that Trump defeated Clinton in the 2016 election.