- Former FBI attorney Lisa Page testified in July that the bureau had not seen strong evidence of Trump-Russia collusion 10 months into the investigation.
- Page made the admission after being asked about a text message she received from Peter Strzok in which he expressed concern that “there’s no big there there.”
- Page and Strzok have both come under fire for sending anti-Trump text messages.
FBI officials had not seen strong evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government by the time Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told Congress in July.
Congressional sources say that Page made the admission during a line of questioning about a text message that she exchanged with Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who led the Trump-Russia probe.
“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 there’s no big there there,” Strzok wrote to Page on May 18, 2017, a day after Mueller was appointed special counsel.
In the text, Strzok was contemplating whether or not to join the Mueller team. He eventually did so, but was removed from the investigation in July 2017 after his anti-Trump text messages with Page were discovered. (RELATED: FBI Had Only ‘Medium Confidence’ In Steele Dossier)
Page testified that Strzok’s text message reflected his uncertainty with the outcome of the investigation.
“I think this represents that even as far as May 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question,” Page told Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, according to a transcript of her testimony reviewed by Fox News.
“I think it’s a reflection of us still not knowing,” she said at another point in her testimony.
Page was questioned over the course of two days in mid-July by members of the House Judiciary and House Oversight & Government Reform Committees.
“It still existed in the scope of possibility that there would be literally nothing, probably not nothing nothing, as we probably knew more than that by that point,” Page continued.
“But in the scheme of the possible outcomes, the most serious one obviously being crimes serious enough to warrant impeachment; but on the other scale that, you know, maybe an unwitting person was, in fact, involved in the release of information, but it didn’t ultimately touch any senior, you know, people in the administration or on the campaign. And so the text just sort of reflects that spectrum.”
“We didn’t have an answer. That’s obvious. And I think we all sort of went back and forth about like what — what the answer was really going to be.”
Page’s testimony reflects what a source close to Strzok told The Daily Caller back in January, after the release of the May 2017 text message.
The source said that Strzok had not seen strong evidence of collusion involving members of the campaign and that he was concerned about joining an investigation that could go nowhere. (RELATED: Source: Strzok Hadn’t Seen Evidence Of Collusion 10 Months Into FBI Probe)
The collusion investigation was formally opened on July 31, 2016 after the FBI received information from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer regarding then-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Downer claimed that Papadopoulos said during a May 10, 2016 meeting in London that Russia had derogatory information about Hillary Clinton.
Two weeks earlier, a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud told Papadopoulos that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.
Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in jail on Sept. 7 for lying to the FBI about the extent of his contacts with Mifsud. He has not been accused of conspiring with Mifsud, and he denies handling any Clinton emails.
The FBI’s lead on collusion appears to have drawn heavily from the infamous Steele dossier. The bureau cited the dossier extensively in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC, alleges that the Trump campaign coordinated directly with the Kremlin to hack and disseminate Democrats’ emails in order to influence the 2016 election.
The dossier accuses Page, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen of taking part in the clandestine negotiations. All have denied the allegations.
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