FBI Agents Spoke Of ‘Pressure’ To Wrap Up Clinton Probe As Trump Surged To GOP Nomination
One of the FBI agents who oversaw the Clinton email investigation spoke of “pressure” to wrap up the probe after it became clear that Donald Trump would win the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.
And in a text exchange on July 1, 2016, FBI lawyer Lisa Page suggested to her lover, counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had foreknowledge that the FBI planned to exonerate Clinton in the investigation over her use of a private email server.
That despite then-FBI Director James Comey saying on July 5, 2016 that the Justice Department had no idea what statement he planned to make that day.
The shocking texts were included in a batch of 384 pages of messages provided to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) by the Justice Department on Friday.
The release is in addition to a batch of Strzok-Page texts that were released by the agency last month. Those exchanges revealed that the two FBI officials, who worked on both the Clinton and Trump investigations, harbored deep anti-Trump sentiments.
In one of those previously disclosed exchanges, dated Aug. 15, 2016, Strzok spoke of an “insurance policy” that the FBI needed to take out in case Trump defeated Clinton in the election.
That text has generated outrage from Republicans who have questioned whether the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign was clouded by political bias. The new releases are likely to renew that outrage, as well as questions over why Strzok felt that there was new pressure to end the Clinton investigation just because of a Trump victory in the Republican primary.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC, revealed details of some of the messages in a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Saturday.
The Republican pointed to a May 4, 2016 text exchange in which Strzok referred to increased “pressure” to wrap up the Clinton email investigation after Donald Trump secured the GOP nomination.
Strzok and Page had the conversation after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican race, a move which cleared Trump’s path to the GOP nomination.
Page wrote: “It’s going to be a Clinton Trump race. Unbelievable.”
“Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE…,” Strzok wrote.
“MYE” is a reference to “Mid Year Exam,” the FBI’s code name for the Clinton probe.
Strzok and Page also suggested in a text exchange on July 1, 2016 that Lynch, the Obama-appointed attorney general, knew when she recused herself from the Clinton investigation that charges would not be brought against the former secretary of state.
Lynch removed herself from the Clinton matter after it was revealed in late June 2016 that she met secretly on an airplane at the Phoenix airport with Bill Clinton. The Justice Department then leaked a story to The New York Times that Lynch would remove herself from the investigation and accept Comey’s recommendation on whether or not to prosecute the case.
Comey announced on July 5, 2016 that while Clinton’s use of a private email server to house classified government documents was “extremely careless,” it did not warrant prosecution. He also suggested that the Justice Department was in the dark about his decision.
“I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say,” Comey announced.
But the Strzok-Page texts suggest otherwise.
“It’s a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought,” Page wrote, sarcastically referring to Lynch.
In his letter to Wray, Johnson also revealed that he was notified by the Justice Department that the FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages between Strzok and Page.
The gap includes a crucial period in the Russia investigation — from Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, the day that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was tapped to lead the collusion probe. (RELATED: FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Peter Strzok Texts)
Strzok was one of the top investigators on the Clinton probe.
He led several key interviews in that investigation, including with Clinton herself on July 2, 2016. He also interviewed Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. As The Daily Caller has reported, both Mills and Abedin gave inconsistent statements about their knowledge of Clinton’s use of a server. Despite that, neither were charged with making false statements to the FBI. (RELATED: Top Clinton Aides Faces No Charges After Making Misleading Statements In Interview With Peter Strzok)
Strzok is also the FBI official who is believed to have edited Comey’s exoneration statement of Clinton by removing language that suggested that she committed a crime. Comey’s initial statement said that Clinton was “grossly negligent” — a characterization that has legal ramifications. Strzok replaced that term with “extremely careless,” a characterization that has no legal significance.
Strzok’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.