There is serious talk on Capitol Hill about the appointment of a second special counsel amid several new bombshell revelations swirling around the Trump/Russia probe. First, there are the allegations of shocking and substantial government surveillance abuses under President Obama outlined in the FISA abuse memo. Secondly, the FBI lost five months of key text messages between the anti-Trump/pro-Clinton FBI officials Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page. And now there’s talk of a “secret society” of officials within the FBI that apparently met the day after the election of Donald J. Trump to plot against the president-elect.
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) January 23, 2018
Top Republicans now believe there may be real grounds for a second special counsel, Fox News reported Monday evening.
Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Bob Goodlatte (R- VA) met on Saturday to discuss the FISA memo and the text messages. On Monday, the trio put out the following statement:
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) January 23, 2018
According to Fox News, Nunes, Gowdy and Goodlatte are in the process of going through the steps necessary to release the four-page FISA memo and intend to see it released to the public by early February.
The FBI has demanded to see a copy of the memo, but so far — understandably — the Intelligence Committee has declined to show them their hand. Republicans believe that publishing the memo will but pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel, Fox News reported.
Reps Gowdy and Ratcliffe (R-TX) were on Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Monday night to talk about the latest developments.
Rep. Ratcliffe said that former FBI director James Comey needs to come back to Capitol Hill to testify again under oath on the question of when the decision to exonerate former secretary of State Hillary Clinton was made. The latest batch of text messages between Strzok and Page suggests that Comey was coordinating with Attorney General Lynch on the decision well ahead of his July 5 press conference.
“It’s really clear to me that the decision was made in May of 2016 — two months before the press conference,” Gowdy said. “Of course Loretta Lynch knew he wasn’t going to be charged. Everyone except the public knew that she was not going to be charged.”
“We knew that Strzok and Page had an intense anti-Trump bias and that’s okay so long as they check it at the door and do their job,” Ratcliffe said. “But we learned today in the thousands of text messages that we reviewed that perhaps they may not have done that.”
Ratcliffe went on to mention one particular text message that referenced a “secret society” at the Bureau. “We know about this insurance policy that was referenced in trying to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president,” he began. “We learned today about information in the immediate aftermath of his election that there may have been a ‘secret society’ of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI to include Page and Strzok that would be working against him.”
McCallum’s interest was piqued. She asked Gowdy for additional details.
“You have this insurance policy in the Spring of 2016 and then the day after the election … there’s a text exchange between these two FBI agents — these two (supposed to be objective, fact-centric) FBI agents saying, ‘perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society,'” Gowdy explained. “So of course I’m gonna want to know what ‘secret society’ are you talking about — because you’re supposed to be investigating objectively the person who just won the Electoral College.”
He added, “Yeah, I’m gonna want to know.”
.@RepRatcliffe on 5-month gap discovered in new FBI texts: "For former prosecutors like @TGowdySC & myself…it makes it harder & harder for us to explain away one strange coincidence after another." https://t.co/jTCsiBqaVi pic.twitter.com/yPKVEJoG91
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 23, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Monday that a review is “already underway to ascertain what occurred and to determine if these records can be recovered in any other way.”
Said Sessions: “If any wrongdoing were to be found to have caused this gap, appropriate legal disciplinary action measures will be taken.”
“We will leave no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available to be produced and will use every technology available to determine whether the missing messages are recoverable from another source. If we are successful, we will update the congressional committees immediately,” he added.