- A newly released text reveals that former FBI investigator Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page discussed drafting talking points for President Barack Obama.
- In September 2016, Page said in a text that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”
- Texts exchanged between Strzok and Page have been a source of controversy since the Justice Department released messages in which the two officials disparaged President Donald Trump.
Nearly two months before former FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email use as secretary of state, and amid the first stages of the bureau’s Russia investigation, two FBI officials discussed drafting talking points for President Barack Obama because he wanted “to know everything we’re doing.”
On September 2, 2016, FBI lawyer Lisa Page texted Peter Strzok, one of the leading FBI agents investigating Clinton’s email use, that Obama wanted an update on everything the bureau was doing.
The Wall Street Journal cited associates of Strzok and Page on Wednesday evening who said the text referenced internal preparations to brief Obama on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election. The text message preceded Obama’s trip to the G20 summit that year, during which he said he confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 5 about the Kremlin’s election-meddling efforts.
The Senate committee’s report asserted that the “text raises additional questions about the type and extent of President Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email scandal and the FBI investigation of it.” In July 2016, the bureau had also begun a counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
That same month, Comey announced the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails while noting the former secretary of state and her colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
A footnote in the Senate Committee’s report suggests it cannot be confirmed that Page’s text was related to the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s private email server, but presumes that it is related to the probe because the message was not redacted.
Despite the ambiguity over the context of the text, President Donald Trump seized on the news Wednesday, tweeting that the “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!”
The report – a review of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation – was compiled by the committee’s Republican chair Sen. Ron Johnson and committee staff.
Peter Strzok played leading roles in the FBI investigations into Clinton’s emails and into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Last summer, Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, removed Strzok from his team after discovering text messages in which Strzok and Page disparaged Trump.
In recent months, the Department of Justice handed two batches of text messages over to Congress that Strzok and Page exchanged during the 2016 presidential campaign and after the election. In some of those messages, Strzok and Page spoke ill of Trump, even calling him an “idiot” at one point.
“OMG I am so depressed,” Strzok wrote to Page the day after Trump’s election victory.
“I don’t know if I can eat. I am very nauseous,” Page replied.
Republicans point to the texts as evidence that the FBI is biased against Trump. Last month, Republican criticisms of the FBI intensified when the DOJ announced it was unable to preserve thousands of texts exchanged between Strzok and Page because of a software glitch on Samsung phones.
Days later, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz told Congress that his office had recovered those messages.