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- President Donald Trump pushed for the firing of two senior FBI officials, according to a new report.
- He also reportedly asked the attorney general and FBI director to find damaging information about the officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
- Strzok and Page have become lightning rods in the Russia investigation.
President Donald Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray during a January meeting why two FBI officials who sent anti-Trump text messages had not been ousted, Vox reported Friday.
The president also reportedly encouraged Sessions and Wray to find damaging information about the senior FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and turn it over to congressional Republicans investigating alleged anti-Trump bias and corruption within the FBI and Justice Department.
Trump’s targeting of Page and Strzok came after he was told by his then-criminal defense attorney, John Dowd, that Page was likely a witness against him in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, two senior administration officials told Vox.
Strzok is a former FBI deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division who helped oversee high-profile FBI investigations, including the one into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state and the Russia investigation.
Page was a senior FBI attorney who served as general counsel to then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, where she provided legal and strategic advice about both investigations for McCabe and then-FBI Director James Comey.
Four separate Republican congressional committees reviewed text messages between the two last December that were sent around the time of the 2016 election that appeared to show negative sentiments toward Trump, particularly after his victory.
After investigators reviewed thousands of text messages from Page and Strzok, who worked closely and were said to have been in an extramarital affair, they found no evidence to substantiate claims the pair was attempting to undermine the administration.
“There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton, and if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime,” veteran Washington attorney Joseph diGenova, whom Trump recently considered having join his defense team, told Fox News in January.
Trump argued in January 22 meeting with Sessions and Wray that a gap of several months in Page and Strzok’s text messages was part of an FBI cover-up.
“In one of the biggest stories in a long time, the FBI says it is now missing five months worth of lovers Strzok – Page texts, perhaps 50,000, all in prime time. Wow!” he tweeted the next morning.
Missing text messages from Page, Strzok and thousands of agents were recovered within the week and turned over by the Justice Department’s inspector general.