Rep. Jim Jordan spoke with Martha McCallum last night about the newly released Fusion GPS testimony and suggested that it, paired with the recent news about the text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, gives credence to the idea that FBI was planning to systematically plant stories to further their insurance policy, which was to keep Trump from getting elected.
Here’s a few excerpts from the article he’s referring to by John Solomon regarding the text messages:
Republican-led House and Senate committees are investigating whether leaders of the Russia counterintelligence investigation had contacts with the news media that resulted in improper leaks, prompted in part by text messages amongst senior FBI officials mentioning specific reporters, news organizations and articles.
In one exchange, FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page engaged in a series of texts shortly before Election Day 2016 suggesting they knew in advance about an article in The Wall Street Journal and would need to feign stumbling onto the story so it could be shared with colleagues.
“Article is out, but hidden behind paywall so can’t read it,” Page texted Strzok on Oct. 24, 2016.
“Wsj? Boy that was fast,” Strzok texted back, using the initials of the famed financial newspaper. “Should I ‘find’ it and tell the team?”
The text messages, which were reviewed by The Hill, show the two FBI agents discussed how they might make it appear they innocently discovered the article, such as through Google News alerts.
“I can get it like I do every other article that hits any Google News alerts, seriously,” Strzok wrote, adding he didn’t want his team hearing about the article “from someone else.”
The Hill reviewed nearly three dozen texts in which the two agents discussed articles, tried to track down information about a specific New York Times reporter or opined about leaked information in stories that they fretted were “super specific.”
Republican investigators in both the House and Senate say the text messages suggest FBI personnel may have had media contacts but don’t necessarily prove it. So they want to learn more about what the two agents were talking about and whether any FBI officials involved in the Russia probe engaged in leaking, sources told The Hill.
FBI contacts with the media wouldn’t necessarily be improper unless they resulted in the release of confidential law enforcement information or classified information, such as the leak last February of an intercept of then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
The Justice Department says it currently has 27 ongoing criminal leak investigations, triple the amount of the prior three years combined.
FBI and Justice Department officials declined to comment about the Strzok-Page texts, noting the Justice Department inspector general is currently investigating the messages and any political bias or other wrongdoing that may have occurred in the Russia case.
If you thought the above reference to the WSJ story might have been a bit vague, then keep reading…
In one string of text messages just five days before Election Day 2016, Page, the lawyer, alerted Strzok, the counterintelligence agent, to a story in The Washington Post about a timeline in the controversial Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Page mentions a conversation she had just had with FBI chief of staff James Rybicki and openly expressed concern the information about the FBI’s timeline was too specific for comfort in the article.
“Sorry, Rybicki called. Time line article in the post (sic) is super specific and not good. Doesn’t make sense because I didn’t have specific information to give.”
A few days earlier Strzok texted Page about another new article, suggesting it was anti-FBI. “Yep, the whole tone is anti-Bu. Just a tiny bit from us,” he wrote.
Page texted she had seen the article. “Makes me feel WAY less bad about throwing him under the bus to the forthcoming CF article,” she texted. Congressional investigators are still trying to determine what the “CF article” reference means and who the agents thought they were trying to throw “under the bus.”
Clearly these suspicious text messages raise more questions than answers, but I do think at the end of these DOJ investigations we may find out what Jordan is postulating to be exactly what happened.
Page and Strzok (and possibly McCabe) were clearly worried about Trump winning the election and it sounds like they certainly leaked information to the media. Whether it was confidential law enforcement information or classified information remains to be seen.