Congressional investigators have uncovered text messages between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, revealing that the bureau may have improperly coordinated with Department of Justice officials in an effort to rush the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, investigative journalist Sara Carter reported in an exclusive Tuesday. The communications were released to congressional investigators last week.
The texts reportedly show then-FBI Special Agent Strzok and his colleague, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, discussing the bureau’s difficulty in securing the warrant to spy on Carter Page. They finally succeeded in obtaining the warrant on Oct. 19, 2016, approximately one month after the conversation took place. There were then three subsequent renewals every 90 days for the warrant on Page.
As reported by Carter last week, the communications also suggest that there was coordination by Obama White House officials, the CIA, and the FBI in the investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign. According to congressional sources, the documents revealed that former Obama White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was involved in the initial investigation into Trump’s campaign and that “Comey, Brennan, and McDonough were working in concert to ensure an investigation was initiated.”
One of the September 2016 text message chains involves former DOJ prosecutor David Laufman, then the chief of the DOJ’s National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. Laufman played a key role in the probes into former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, as well as the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. He abruptly left the DOJ on February 7, one day after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a scathing interim report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email scandal.
In the text message, Strzok tells Lisa Page that Laufman blamed the hold-up for the application on the “EDVA” [Eastern District of Virginia].
“Everything here—from the texts complaining about FISA delays to the exchanges indicating coordination, to the White House visitor logs—seems to match to a disturbing degree. At best, it’s a strange coincidence worth investigating further—but it’s likely much more,” a congressional investigator told Carter. “Congress has to take this information seriously if we hope to restore Americans’ trust in our federal justice system.”
In a March 2016 text, Strzok expressed frustration with Laufman: “I am getting aggravated at Laufman,” he wrote to Page.
The new communications suggest that the conflict only got worse in the ensuing months.
In a Sept. 8, 2016 text message, Page told Strzok: “Oh, just make sure I understood where things were on the [redacted] paper, trying to talk to Axelrod [Matthew Axelrod, DOJ prosecutor] because he’s ‘so angry’ with how this came over to them. I told her not to put herself out too much if Matt wants to call and yell at Andy it’s fine.”
Matthew Axelrod was the former top deputy to then acting attorney general Sally Yates. Yates was fired by Trump in January 2017 after she refused to enforce his executive travel ban order.
The reference to ‘Andy’ is former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired on March 16, by the Department of Justice at the request of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Only several days after the text was sent, White House visitor logs reveal that on Sept. 12, 2016, Axelrod met with President Obama at the White House.
McCabe may now be looking at possible charges for lying under oath to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is investigating the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Clinton. His firing came days before he would have been eligible for a lifetime pension. The bureau fired McCabe based on evidence that he lied to the DOJ’s Inspector General’s office four times regarding leaks to the media during the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of the unsecured private server to send classified messages.
When DOJ Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe last month, he said in a statement that the former FBI deputy director had “made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor—including under oath—on multiple occasions.”
A year earlier, McCabe reportedly oversaw a bogus federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions “lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives,” confirming our worst fears about the politicization of the FBI/DOJ.
A defiant McCabe argued in a statement that he was fired as part of the administration’s “ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the special counsel investigation.”
However, current FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a recent interview with NBC’s “Nightly News” that his “commitment to making sure that our process is followed, that it relies on objective input, and that most importantly, it is not based on political or partisan influence is something I am utterly unyielding on.”
McCabe’s GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his legal defense yielded over $550,000 — more than twice its goal, sparking concern from charity watchdogs that donors were “snookered.” The release of the DOJ inspector general report on his conduct is expected to be damning and could even lead to criminal charges.