Committees led by Republicans in the House and Senate are investigating whether principals in the Russia counterintelligence investigation had contacts with the news media that resulted in improper leaks. The probe was spurred by text messages sent among senior FBI officials which named specific reporters, news organizations and articles.
FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page, who were engaged in an affair, exchanged texts shortly before the presidential election in 2016 suggesting they knew in advance about an article in The Wall Street Journal and would need to pretend to have discovered the story by chance so that it could be shared with colleagues.
“Article is out, but hidden behind paywall so can’t read it,” Page texted Strzok on Oct. 24, 2016.
“Wsj? Boy that was fast,” Strzok responded via text. “Should I ‘find’ it and tell the team?”
The two then proceeded to discuss how they might make it appear that they simply happened upon the article.
“I can get it like I do every other article that hits any Google News alerts, seriously,” Strzok wrote, adding he did not want his team to hear about the piece “from someone else.”
Strzok and Page also texted their opinions about the media in general. According to The Hill, Strzok called an article in the New York Post about agents being displeased with the outcome of the Clinton email investigation “stupid,” and referred to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace as a “turd.”
After the presidential debate hosted by Fox News, Strzok also remarked about then-Fox anchor and current NBC anchor Megyn Kelly. “Vaguely satisfying to see Megyn Kelly (who had Botox and looks HORRIBLE) utterly going after Trump,” he texted to Page.
Peter Strzok, a highly experienced FBI veteran, headed up the FBI’s counterespionage division last year, and was one of the top investigators in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her term as secretary of state. He was also reported to be one of the FBI officials who interviewed Clinton.
In addition, Strzok was on Mueller’s investigative team last summer, in the probe on the alleged Trump Campaign-Russia collusion. Mueller quietly booted him from the team in August, when the text messages were discovered which he and Page sent during the presidential campaign season, showing he expressed anti-Trump views and was supportive of Clinton.
More text messages between the Strzok and Page were shared by The Hill:
A few days earlier Strzok texted Page about another new article, suggesting it was anti-FBI. “Yep, the whole tone is anti-Bu. Just a tiny bit from us,” he wrote.
Page texted she had seen the article. “Makes me feel WAY less bad about throwing him under the bus to the forthcoming CF article,” she texted. Congressional investigators are still trying to determine what the “CF article” reference means and who the agents thought they were trying to throw “under the bus.”
Republicans want to interview Page to determine if she assisted with any “forthcoming” articles or helped another FBI employee “give” information to the news media, particularly because she helped advise then-deputy director McCabe.
Likewise, congressional investigators want to question Strzok about what he meant about the “tiny bit from us” reference.
When the two shared a National Public Radio article on the opening of Trump’s new hotel in Washington, the two could barely contain their disdain.
“That’s one place I hope I never stay in,” Page wrote.
Strzok replied. “Agreed. I hope it fails horribly.”