Yesterday was day two of testimony from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who was also the mistress of disgraced FBI Agent Peter Strzok. The two sent tens of thousands of texts, anti-Trump in nature during some of the most politically sensitive investigations the FBI has undertaken in recent memory: the Clinton email probe and the counterintelligence investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Strzok was a key player in both investigations. Throughout 2016, the two sent texts that have raised eyebrows and questioned the credibility of the FBI’s impartiality. From “we’ll stop it” and an “insurance policy,” both referring to the Trump presidency, GOP lawmakers want to know what Strzok meant. The insurance policy is allegedly the Trump dossier, which was a campaign opposition research file compiled by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS during the 2016 election; Fusion was hired by the Clinton campaign to find dirt on Trump. That document was allegedly used to secure a FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s former foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
Strzok’s testimony last week before Congress was a rodeo fraught with drama, as Democrats kept interrupting, some GOP members bringing up Strzok’s extramarital affair with Page and other acts of insanity. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said he would have given Strzok a Purple Heart. Strzok was combative, said his anti-Trump texts were an expression of “deep patriotism,” and that his “we’ll stop it” text was made in reference to Trump’s remarks about Gold Star parent Khizr Khan. It was ridiculous. Strzok’s main point was that his biased texts weren’t evidence of bias.
For Page, there were no fireworks. No explosive moments that we know of since it was behind closed doors. Yet, House Republicans found her testimony credible and respected her willingness to get to the truth. Her testimony on Friday did, however, raise concerns with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) concerning whether the FBI was driving towards a desired outcomeon the Russia investigation. Now, Page reportedly told House members that those anti-Trump texts meant exactly what they mean, according to Rep. John Ratcliff (R-TX) (via ABC News):
Page appeared on Capitol Hill on Monday for a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee after initially answering questions last Friday.
Page and Peter Strzok, who testified publicly in a fiery marathon hearing on Capitol Hill last Thursday, are at the center of Republican concern about political bias at the FBI and Justice Department regarding the handling of the Russia and Clinton email investigations.
Rep. John Ratcliff, R-Texas, told reporters that Page has been more cooperative than Strzok in her interview, offering lawmakers “plausible answers” and “plausible explanations.”
“In many cases, she admits that the text messages mean exactly what they say, as opposed to Agent Strzok, who thinks that we’ve all misinterpreted his own words on any text message that might be negative,” Ratcliff told reporters.
“She’s certainly more cooperative than Peter Strzok was and the pieces of information filled in some blanks along the way, but we’ve got a huge jigsaw puzzle to put together,” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, agreed.
When I questioned Lisa Page on Friday about the anti-Trump text messages that were sent between herself and Peter Strzok, there were significant differences in her testimony and Strzok’s as it relates to what she thought some of these text messages meant. pic.twitter.com/H73LfRFzUc
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) July 16, 2018
Democrats said last Friday that Page’s testimony did not come in conflict with Strzok’s, but Ratcliff disagreed. Of course, Democrats are not going to agree with Republicans on this or anything that makes the president looks good.
Both Strzok and Page texted about the Clinton email probe, in which both were concerned that the FBI was going too hard on Hillary. Evidence of a possible breach in the homebrew server Clinton used was also presented to Strzok who reportedly did nothing about it. As for the Russia investigation, that’s now being handled by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who removed Strzok from the investigation in August of 2017 when he found out about the texts. Strzok was reassigned to human resources. He was a top counterintelligence agent. Now, he’s the face of the controversy that has engulfed the FBI and provided a rather embarrassing chapter in its history.