The highly anticipated Inspector General’s report into the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails reveals a previously unreported text by FBI agent Peter Strzok to lawyer Lisa Page that allegedly says “we’ll stop” Trump’s election, The Washington Post is reporting.
The IG’s report is not going to be made public until the afternoon of June 14, 2018. However, the leaks of its alleged contents started in the late morning. Among the key passages: The revelation of the new Strzok text that is sure to provoke controversy. You can read the full report here.
Here’s what you need to know:
The New Text Was Made Just a Few Months Before the Presidential Election
The Washington Post story contains a transcript of the alleged text.
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” the lawyer, Lisa Page, wrote to Strzok, according to The Post.
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded, The Post says the IG report reveals. The text was sent in August 2016 only a few months before the presidential election, and after the FBI had started its investigation into Trump campaign aides, according to The Post.
Strzok explained to the IG investigators, “When asked about this text message, Strzok stated that he did not specifically recall sending it, but that he believed that it was intended to reassure Page that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation.”
Because of Peter Strzok’s text messages, “we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation” was free from bias, the IG report said.
The report stated, “In assessing the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop, we were particularly concerned about text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions they made were impacted by bias or improper considerations. Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, and the implication in some of these text messages, particularly Strzok’s August 8 text message (“we’ll stop” candidate Trump from being elected), was that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects. Under these circumstances, we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.”
“The report is critically flawed in its bizarre conclusion that the IG cannot rule out ‘with confidence’ the possibility that Special Agent Strzok’s political ‘bias’ may have been a cause of the FBI’s failure, between September 29 and October 25, 2016, to seek a second search warrant for the Anthony Weiner laptop,” Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, said in a statement to the Hill.
The IG Report Will Take Aim at Comey But Clears Him of Political Bias, Reports Say
In addition, there have been other leaks about the IG report. Bloomberg is reporting that the IG report will also take aim at former FBI Director James Comey by saying he deviated from past FBI and Department of Justice protocol when he revealed the FBI had reopened its investigation into Clinton’s emails shortly before the 2016 presidential election; however, the report is also expected to say that the IG did not find evidence of political motivation, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg wrote that the IG report will say that Comey’s handling of that disclosure was damaging to “the agencies’ image of impartiality even though he wasn’t motivated by politics.”
Strzok Has Become a Flashpoint for Republican Critics of Robert Mueller
Peter Strzok, a counter-intelligence officer in the FBI, has become a flashpoint for Republican criticism of the Robert Mueller investigation into Donald Trump.
Previous tweets he and Lisa Page wrote also provoked headlines. Strzok was quietly reassigned from his position in the probe, and it was later revealed that he and the FBI lawyer, Page, wrote anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages to one another, calling into question Strzok’s objectivity in the Mueller investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Strzok was also a key player in several stages of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, which led to no criminal charges. He named also appeared in the controversial Republican authored “FISA memo,” which is sometimes called the “Nunes memo.”
One of the texts, revealed on February 7, from Lisa Page to FBI agent Peter Strzok discussed “preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, who wanted ‘to know everything we’re doing,'” according to Fox News. “…the message more likely indicated that Obama wanted to be kept informed of an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” CNN reported, not the Clinton email probe.
The Wall Street Journal reported previously that Strzok had been reassigned from the Robert Mueller investigation in the summer of 2017 after a “government watchdog” began looking into his texts with an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair, Lisa Page.
It then emerged that Strzok played a key role in the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. CNN reported that Strzok changed former FBI Director James Comey’s “earlier draft language describing Clinton’s actions as ‘grossly negligent’ to ‘extremely careless,'” in Comey’s statement about the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails. Grossly negligent is a phrase with legal significance as that is the standard needed to prove criminality.
However, complicating Strzok’s persona, it was later revealed that Strzok helped write the first James Comey letter that reopened an investigation into Clinton’s emails shortly before the presidential election, which Clinton has argued negatively affected her chances at the polls.
The content of the electronic messages between Strzok and Page provoked a political firestorm even before the latest one was released.
“God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0,” Strzok wrote to Page, according to one message obtained by Politico. “Also did you hear [Trump] make a comment about the size of his d*ck earlier? This man can not be president,” Page responded, Politico reported. CBS News, which also obtained the emails, wrote that Strzok, on election day, “expressed his dismay at seeing a map showing…Trump winning — he called it ‘f*****g terrifying,’ and a week after the election, Strzok and Page were also alarmed to see that Jeff Sessions was likely to be named attorney general,” with Strzok writing “Sessions for AG” along with an expletive, to which Page replied, “Good god.”
Page and Strzok also wrote disparaging messages about Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, “with Page expressing the hope that he ‘fails and crashes in a blaze of glory,’” reported CBS.
In March 2016, Page wrote: “God trump is a loathsome human….omg he’s an idiot.”
“He’s awful,” Strzok replied.
According to Fox News, more texts were revealed in January 2018. “Page warned Strzok that Clinton ‘might be our next president,’ in a Feb. 25, 2016 message, continuing, “The last thing you need [is] going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more [DOJ] than [FBI]?”
You can read more of the pair’s texts here:
Peter Strzok Graduated From Georgetown University & Is One of the FBI’s Most Experienced Counter Terrorism Officers
Strzok graduated from Georgetown University, a list of donors to the university showed. Strzok earned his master’s degree from the school in 2013, the list indicated. In 2012, Strzok and his wife, also a Georgetown alum, donated between $2,500-4,999 to their alma mater.
Strzok’s wife Melissa Hodgman and Strzok also donated between $250-499 to the Shakespeare Theatre Company, a 2007-08 annual report said. The couple live in the Fairfax, Virginia area and purchased a home for $520,000 in June 2003, according to public real estate records. He is 47-years-old and previously lived in Massachusetts, according to online records.
The Wall Street Journal has called Strzok “one of the FBI’s most experienced counterintelligence agents.”