A top Senate committee chairman is being pressed for details about an informant he says has discussed secret “offsite” meetings involving high-level DOJ and FBI officials, purportedly to discuss the Russia investigation.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson for evidence from the informant.
Earlier in the week, Johnson said that he has been told by an informant about secret meetings that U.S. law enforcement officials.
Johnson first mentioned the informant in the context of a text message exchanged just after the 2016 election between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that mentioned a “secret society.”
Strzok and Page, who were having an affair, worked on both the Russia investigation and the Clinton email probe.
“That secret society, we have an informant that’s talking about a group that was holding secret meetings offsite,” Johnson told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Tuesday.
“Secret meetings offsite at the Justice Department? You have an informant on that?” Baier asked.
“Yes,” said Johnson.
He provided additional details in an interview on Wednesday with Fox’s Bill Hemmer.
“There is indications there were a number of high level officials that were holding secret meetings offsite,” he said.
When asked for more information about his informant, Johnson declined to provide more information.
“I’m not going to get into at all where we are getting this information. We protect our sources,” he said.
“I don’t want to give any indication, because we are dealing with the world’s premier investigative agency here, and people that come forward to us fear retaliation. That’s true throughout government. People fear retaliation within government agencies, it’s rampant, and particularly within the FBI.” (RELATED: GOP Senator: ‘A Number’ Of FBI Officials Had ‘Offsite’ Meetings)
In her letter, McCaskill said that as the Homeland Security Committee’s ranking member, she deserved access to the information that Johnson had seen.
“You have now made serious and damaging allegations. I would assume that you would never make those kinds of allegations without serious and substantial hard evidence,” she wrote.
“If the Committee has any evidence that the FBI is, as you have stated, biased and corrupt at the highest levels, I assume that evidence is strong in both quality and quantity, and extends far beyond a casual mention in a text message between two agents who were involved in personal crosstalk.”
Johnson received some criticism on Thursday after the full context of the Strzok-Page “secret society” text message suggested that the two FBI officials were joking.
“Are you even going to give our your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society,” Page wrote to Strzok, which whom she was having an affair.
CNN reported that Strzok bought Putin-themed calendars as a gag gift for his fellow investigators.
Democrats and liberals in the media jumped rallied against Johnson, though they have largely ignored other eye-catching text messages revealed over the past few days. (RELATED: In ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Text Exchange, Peter Strzok Expressed ‘Concern’ Over Mueller Investigation)
In one May 19, 2017 exchange, Strzok appeared to suggest to Page that he believe there was “no big there there” with regards to the Russia investigation, which had just been taken over by Robert Mueller.
“You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern that there’s no big there there,” Strzok wrote to Page during a discussion about joining the Mueller team.
Democrats and mainstream media figures have ignored other damning exchanges, including ones where Strzok calls Trump an “idiot” and another in which he discusses an FBI “insurance policy” in the event of a Trump election win. (RELATED: FBI Officials Discussed ‘Insurance Policy’ In The Event Of A Trump Win)
“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 on Aug. 15, 2016, several weeks after he was picked to lead the FBI’s investigation into possible campaign collusion.
“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” he added, cryptically.
On Sunday, Johnson revealed a May 4, 2016 text message in which Strzok said that he would be under “pressure” to wrap up the Clinton email investigation because of Trump’s ascent to the GOP presidential nomination. (RELATED: FBI Agents Felt ‘Pressure’ To Wrap Up Clinton Email Probe)