Multiple reviews of whether FBI agents’ political bias affected the Russia-Trump collusion case remain in their infancy, but investigators already have unearthed troubling internal communications long withheld from public view.
We already know from FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok’s now-infamous text messages with his fellow agent and reported lover, Lisa Page, that Strzok — the man driving that Russia collusion investigation — disdained Donald Trump and expressed willingness to use his law enforcement powers to “stop” the Republican from becoming president.
The question that lingers, unanswered: Did those sentiments affect official actions?
Memos the FBI is now producing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general and multiple Senate and House committees offer what sources involved in the production, review or investigation describe to me as “damning” or “troubling” evidence.
They show Strzok and his counterintelligence team rushing in the fall of 2016 to find “derogatory” information from informants or a “pretext” to accelerate the probe and get a surveillance warrant on figures tied to the future president.
One of those figures was Carter Page, an academic and an energy consultant from New York; he was briefly a volunteer foreign policy adviser for the GOP nominee’s campaign and visited Moscow the summer before the election.
The memos show Strzok, Lisa Page and others in counterintelligence monitored news articles in September 2016 that quoted a law enforcement source as saying the FBI was investigating Carter Page’s travel to Moscow.
The FBI team pounced on what it saw as an opportunity as soon as Page wrote a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey complaining about the “completely false” leak.
“At a minimum, the letter provides us a pretext to interview,” Strzok wrote to Lisa Page on Sept. 26, 2016.
Within weeks, that “pretext” — often a synonym for an excuse — had been upsized to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant, giving the FBI the ability to use some of its most awesome powers to monitor Carter Page and his activities.
To date, the former Trump adviser has been accused of no wrongdoing despite being subjected to nearly a year of surveillance.
Some internal memos detail the pressure being applied by the FBI to DOJ prosecutors to get the warrant on Carter Page buttoned up before Election Day.
In one email exchange with the subject line “Crossfire FISA,” Strzok and Lisa Page discussed talking points to get then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to persuade a high-ranking DOJ official to sign off on the warrant.
“Crossfire Hurricane” was one of the code names for four separate investigations the FBI conducted related to Russia matters in the 2016 election.
“At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Page on Oct. 14, 2016, less than four weeks before Election Day.
Four days later the same team was emailing about rushing to get approval for another FISA warrant for another Russia-related investigation code-named “Dragon.”
“Still an expedite?” one of the emails beckoned, as the FBI tried to meet the requirements of a process known as a Woods review before a FISA warrant can be approved by the courts.
“Any idea what time he can have it woods-ed by?” Strzok asked Page. “I know it’s not going to matter because DOJ is going to take the time DOJ wants to take. I just don’t want this waiting on us at all.”
4 investigations, really 4 quite a revelation of a spiders web.
Smoke screen required must cover up DOJ conspiracy hurry the F up there are paper and electronic trails everywhere.
Mueller indicts a guy thats involved with a Russian company thats trying to get high tech into Russia, hmmm that non-profit seems familiar
Supporting the Skolkovo Innovation Center on the outskirts of Moscow was part of the attempted “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations early in President Obama’s first term. The State Department sought U.S. investment partners for the project
SKOLKOVO yes thats the one. The State dept run by ummmm who was that? Major U.S. tech companies that have contributed to the Clinton Foundation heeded calls by the State Department when it was headed by Hillary Clinton to invest in a Kremlin effort to develop a Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley.
The Russians indicted were trying to get Trump to win, all the Russian version silicon valley was on Trumps side?
odd CNBC didnt mention the State depts assistance.