In recent weeks we have learned that redacted sections of the Horowitz report confirmed that the FBI knew the infamous anti-Trump Steele dossier was Russian disinformation, that exculpatory evidence regarding George Papadopoulos was explicitly omitted from FISA warrant applications and that spying on the Trump campaign and administration went much further than admitted.
Now a new batch of recently released emails between former FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page give more support to the idea that the investigation was a concerted and coordinated effort to take down the Trump presidency before it even began.
This week, Judicial Watch obtained 138 pages of new records based on a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. They shed new light on how the FBI reacted to the publication of the discredited anti-Trump dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele, as well as the climate of anti-Trumpism among the investigators.
The new emails seem to implicate Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson in perjury. Fusion GPS had paid Steele, via funds from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to write the dossier. In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017, Simpson said he was not aware of any version of the Steele dossier being given to the FBI. However, on January 10, 2017, the day that Buzzfeed broke the Steele dossier story, Strzok wrote that the Buzzfeed version of the report “has differences from what was given to us by [David] Corn and [Glenn] Simpson.”
Strzok and others in the Obama administration knew almost immediately that the late Arizona Senator John McCain likely leaked the infamous dossier to the press. Strzok mentions on January 10 that the Buzzfeed version of the dossier is “identical” to the one McCain’s office had previously given to the FBI. Strzok later forwarded to Page and several FBI officials an article by the British newspaper The Guardian headlined, “FBI chief given dossier by John McCain alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts.” McCain later admitted that he had passed the dossier to the Bureau, and court filings that were unsealed in March 2019 show the Arizona senator and former State Department official David Kramer had also shared the dossier with several media outlets.
The new production of records also sheds light on what then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe knew and when he knew it. McCabe was fired for leaking and lack of candor (that’s “lying” to most Americans) after a February 2018 DOJ inspector general report concluded that his “disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation … violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.” In a December 22, 2016 email, Strzok asks McCabe if the FBI had opened a “leak investigation” into Clinton Foundation media reports since “the D [Director James Comey] would like to do something.” Strzok asks for “guidance as to how/if you’d like me to detail the media pull we conducted. As you may recall, we have not detailed that activity other than to you and Bill.” McCabe’s reply to Strzok is predictably redacted, and it is hard to believe that there is any other interest being served with this omission than McCabe’s.
In another wrinkle, on December 15, 2016, Strzok forwarded to Page an article from the Daily Mail which states that a former British diplomat, Craig Murray, claimed to have received emails that were stolen from the DNC and John Podesta from an inside DNC source, not Russians. Murray received the emails near the grounds of American University, prompting Strzok to note playfully to Page, “Shaddy sh*t at AU…;)”. A previous document release had contained a heavily redacted August 10, 2016 email exchange in which Strzok sent Page a forwarded message from unidentified agents from the FBI’s Washington Field Office discussing Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer who was murdered in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2016, and was allegedly a Wikileaks source for the DNC and Podesta emails. “Shaddy sh*t” indeed.
These new, heavily redacted emails were obtained despite the FBI’s “go-slow” response, processing only 500 pages per month and refusing to release any additional Strzok/Page text messages. At this anemic rate the full production will be delayed until well beyond the 2020 election, and we can guess that the Bureau is keeping back the most damning revelations until after November, if they are ever released at all. Furthermore, the FBI is using the coronavirus as an excuse to shut down the production of any further records. Why the Justice Department is allowing this rolling coverup to continue is anybody’s guess, but the truth is emerging regardless, pandemic or not. One hopes Mr. Durham’s office is paying close attention.
Chris Farrell is the director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog. He is a former military intelligence officer.