President Donald Trump's personal lawyers have joined with congressional Republicans that messages exchanged by FBI officials and lawyers in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russian officials and Trump’s political organization show graphic evidence of hostility toward the president that undermines the credibility of the FBI, the Justice Department, and Mueller. The messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page offer evidence of alleged bias against Trump, they contend.
Also, an official at the Department of Justice is alleged to have met with Fusion GPS: an opposition research firm that was hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee to produce a salacious and uncorroborated report that sought to demonstrate that Trump could be blackmailed by Russia. The release of electronic messages by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice appear to be preparing the country for a broader story that will come in advance of the expected release of 1.2 million documents in the IG’s year-long investigation into the politicization of the FBI and DOJ.
In November, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that his investigation into alleged misconduct by then-FBI Director James Comey and others during the 2016 presidential election is almost finished. Horowitz said, “We are aiming to release the report in late winter/early spring — hopefully in that March/April time period.”
The growing list of personalities cited in media reports involve officials at the very top of the federal government and show their connections to the Democratic party. Here are some notables:
Bruce Ohr, an associate attorney general with the U.S. Department of Justice, was demoted in December 2017 because of alleged contacts he had with the Fusion GPS opposition research firm that hired a former British spy who developed the infamous “Trump dossier” on Russia. The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the dossier. Founded by former journalists, Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, the former British spy who produced the dossier of salacious and unverified allegations about President Donald Trump, funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. According to Fox News, Nellie Ohr “worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.” Nellie Ohr has written on Russian-related subjects, according to Fox.
Bruce Ohr is believed to have met with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, and Steele. Steele shared the dossier with the FBI, while the Justice Department used it to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to “to conduct surveillance on Trump associate Carter Page.” Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is now investigating Page and other former Trump campaign officials as part of his probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Members of Congress are seeking to find out to what extent the FBI and DOJ official Ohr used the dossier to get a warrant to monitor Page. According to documents filed with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson met with Ohr in November 2016 at the time that president-elect Donald Trump was selecting his cabinet. They discussed the Russia investigation, the anti-Trump dossier, and “what Simpson considered the distressing development of Trump’s victory.”
The report said that the House intelligence committee has evidence to show that it was British spy Steele who put them in touch.
Bruce Ohr and Nellie Ohr
Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS from the summer through the fall of 2016, according to Fusion GPS founder Simpson. While it is not clear what she did for the firm, Nellie Ohr has written in the past on Russia-related subjects. In 2016, she applied for a ham radio operator’s license, which may have given the Fusion GPS team preparing the dossier an alternative means of communication that could skirt surveillance.
Peter Strzok and Lisa Page
Peter Strzok and Lisa Page
Peter P. Strzok II has served as a Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI in its counterintelligence branch. He was a lead investigator in Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server during her time as Secretary of State. He was dismissed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation after his anti-Trump texts were discovered. Strzok is married to a top lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Melissa Hodgman. Hodgman scrubbed any evidence of her support of Hillary Clinton from her social media accounts, according to The Gateway Pundit.
Lisa Page is an attorney at the FBI, who served as an aide to former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. She is married to Joseph Burrow.
The Washington Post identified FBI lawyer Lisa Page as Strzok’s romantic interest with whom he had the electronic exchanges. Page was an aide to Andrew “Andy” McCabe, who served for several months this year as Acting FBI Director. Strzok was involved in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private unauthorized email server while she served as Barack Obama’s secretary of state. It was also Strzok who changed the wording in then-FBI Director James Comey's assessment of Clinton’s handling of classified materials from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
Strzok also questioned Michael Flynn about the latter’s foreign contacts before joining the Trump administration. Flynn resigned after serving weeks as National Security Advisor. He has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Of Trump, Strzok wrote: f***ing idiot" as well as "d**che" and "F TRUMP." The exchange between Strzok and Page reveals that they favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, while disparaging the latter.
'Idiot' and 'Awful' Trump
In 2016, Strzok referred to then-presidential candidate Trump as an “idiot” and “awful” in electronic messages to Page. He also wrote that Clinton “should win 100,000,000 – 0” in text messages to Page. “God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0,” Strzok wrote to Page. “Also did you hear [Trump] make a comment about the size of his d*ck earlier? This man can not be president.” The pair also made disparaging remarks about Trump’s family.
In another missive to Page, which raised concerns of conspiracy, Strzok wrote, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected, but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."
On March 16, 2016, Page texted Strzok: "I can not believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president.'' In April 2016, Page wrote: "So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can't be traced, you were just venting bc you feel bad that you're gone so much but it can't be helped right now.'' "I Loathe Congress,'' Strzok texted Page in June 2016. Then, during the Republican National Convention, Page texted: "Wow, Donald Trump is an enormous d*uche.''
Speaking of the Trump campaign's apparent lack of coordination, she added: "It's just a two-bit organization. I do so hope his disorganization comes to bite him hard in November.'' Making an observation on Twitter, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote, “FBI owes answers about ‘insurance policy’ against Trump victory...and if nothing to hide, why would senior FBI leaders use secret phones that ‘can’t be traced’ to talk Hillary? DOJ needs to give Judicial Committee full transparency/cooperation two restore public trust. FBI can’t be political.”
FBI owes answers abt "insurance policy" against Trump victory...& if nothing to hide, why would senior FBI leaders use secret phones that "cant be traced" to talk Hillary? DOJ needs to give JudicComm full transparency/cooperation 2 restore public trust. FBI CANT BE POLITICAL— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 13, 2017
Along those lines, some members of Congress have expressed the fear that the FBI has effectively become a secret police operation.
On election day in 2016, CBS News report that Strzok wrote that the prospect of a win for Trump was “f*****g terrifying,” while soon afterward both he and Page expressed alarm that Jeff Sessions was to be named attorney general. Strzok wrote, “Sessions for AG” along with an expletive. Page replied, “Good god.”
Page wrote of House Speaker Paul Ryan that she hoped that he “fails and crashes in a blaze of glory.” Exchanges between Page and Strzok go back to 2015, while in March 2016, “God trump is a loathsome human….omg he’s an idiot.” Strzok replied “He’s awful.” According to USA Today, “The disclosure of 375 text message communications between Strzok and FBI colleague Lisa Page not only included disparaging references to Trump but also slammed former Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley – and pondered the sexual preference of Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich.”
Strzok texted Page on August 26, 2016: "Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support." He expressed fear that Trump would win the election. "I do so hope his disorganization comes to bite him hard in November," wrote Page to Strzok about the Republican National Convention, held on July 19, 2016. "It HAS to, right?" Strzok responded. "Right?!? Panicked."
Andrew McCabe served as Acting Director of the FBI after James Comey was dismissed by President Trump. He served as Acting FBI Director until August 2, 2017. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that McCabe was one of several candidates under consideration for Director. However, Trump ultimately chose Christopher A. Wray, the former Assistant Attorney General. Once Wray was sworn in, McCabe returned to the position of Deputy Director.
McCabe cancelled his appearance on Capitol Hill that was scheduled for December 12. The rumor on Capitol Hill is that he was tipped off about questions he was to face from the House Intelligence Committee. The DOJ blamed a "scheduling error" for McCabe's failure to appear on Capitol Hill. On the evening of December 12, the exchange of messages between Page and Strzok surfaced after their release by the DOJ inspector general to Congress. McCabe may appear next week in a closed-door setting. Adding to suspicions, McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, ran for the Virginia state senate in 2016, and received $675,288 in campaign funds from two entities associated with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) -- a political action committee and the Virginia Democratic Party. McAuliffe is a friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton, reported Newsweek.
Rep. Jordan demands new special investigation
During hours of testimony on Wednesday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- who appointed Robert Mueller to the Russia probe -- Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called on him to appoint a second special counsel to investigate allegations of anti-Trump bias within Robert Mueller's team. Jordan focused on the Strzok-Page emails of 2016. Jordan read several of the messages out loud, saying that Strzok believes himself to be “super-agent James Bond at the FBI" on a mission to protect Americans from Trump. He told Rosenstein, "This is unbelievable.”
Asking what "fact pattern" would be necessary to appoint a second counsel to conduct a separate investigation, Jordan concluded, "I think the public trust in this whole thing is gone."
Rosenstein countered by saying that the Inspector General has 500 employees tasked and a $100 million budget to conduct a "thorough review." The review, he said, discovered the text messages and Strzok’s removal from Mueller's team. Last week, Jordan questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray and alleged that it was Strzok who took the now-infamous salacious Trump-Russia dossier to a FISA court and got clearance to snoop on the Trump campaign.