Politically charged text messages exchanged between two FBI agents involved in the Russia investigation amount to treason, President Trump asserted in a new interview with The Wall Street Journal.
The interview touched on a broad array of topics, including the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
At one point, he was asked about a controversy surrounding former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. It was revealed last month that Strzok and Page, who were having an affair at the time, exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages prior to the 2016 election. (RELATED: FBI Agents Discussed ‘Insurance Policy’ Against Trump Presidency)
“A man is tweeting to his lover that if [Hillary Clinton] loses, we’ll essentially do the insurance policy. We’ll go to phase two and we’ll get this guy out of office,” Trump told The Journal.
“This is the FBI we’re talking about — that is treason,” said Trump. “That is a treasonous act. What he tweeted to his lover is a treasonous act.”
The Strzok-Page messages were uncovered by the Justice Department’s inspector general, which is investigating the FBI’s handing of the Clinton email probe. Strzok was one of the top FBI officials on that investigation. He also oversaw the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, which began in July 2016.
In one cryptic text message from Aug. 2016, Strzok expressed concern that Trump would win the election.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok wrote to Page, his mistress.
“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Republicans have pressed the FBI and Justice Department about the text messages and the “insurance policy” reference. The Justice Department struck a deal with the House Intelligence Committee last week to turn over 9,500 more Strzok-Page texts that have not already been given to Congress.
Lawyers for Strzok and Page blasted Trump’s comments.
“It is beyond reckless for the President of the United States to accuse Pete Strzok, a man who has devoted his entire adult life to defending this country, of treason. It should surprise no one that the President has both the facts and the law wrong,” Aitan Goelman told The Journal.
Amy Jeffress, a lawyer for Page, said that Trump’s comments were “as shocking as they are baseless.”