New emails have been released showing that on the eve of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, top FBI officials were buzzing to each other.
The full extent of the communication among then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, then-Assistant Director for the Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap, then-agent Peter Strzok, and then-FBI attorney Lisa Page is limited by extensive redactions. (Strzok later became the FBI’s deputy assistant director.)
However, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton was ready with an overall summary.
“These documents suggest that President Trump was targeted by the Comey FBI as soon as he stepped foot in the Oval Office,” Fitton said.
The documents were released in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request.
“And now we see how the Comey FBI was desperate to spin, through high-level leaks, its mishandling of the Clinton email investigation. And, in a continuing outrage, it should be noted that Wray’s FBI and Barr’s DOJ continue slow walk the release of thousands of Page-Strzok emails – which means the remaining 8,000 pages of records won’t be reviewed and released until 2021-2022!”
The email chain began on Jan. 19, 2017, with an email to Strzok by an assistant general counsel in the FBI’s National Security Law Branch.
“I’ll give Trisha/Baker a heads up too,” reads the unredacted piece of the message.
After two redacted emails, Strzok’s reply is shown.
“I briefed Bill this afternoon and he was trying without success to reach the DD [McCabe]. I will forward below to him as his [sic] changes the timeline. What’s your recommendation?” he wrote.
Amid more redactions, Priestap told Strzok, “Approved by tomorrow afternoon is the request. [Redacted] – please advise if I am missing something.”
After more redacted conversations, Strzok wrote, “Just talked with Bill. [Redacted]. Please relay above to WFO and [redacted] tonight, and keep me updated with plan for meet and results of same. Good luck.”
Strzok sent the full exchange to Page, with whom later investigations would reveal he was having an affair, saying, “Bill spoke with Andy. [Redacted.] Here we go again …”
The day after Trump’s inauguration, Strzok wrote to Priestap, “I heard from [redacted] about the WH CI briefing routed from [redacted]. I am angry that Jen did not at least cc: me, as my branch has pending investigative matters there, this brief may play into our investigative strategy, and I would like the ability to have visibility and provide thoughts/counsel to you in advance of the briefing. This is one of the reasons why I raised the issue of lanes/responsibilities that I did when you asked her to handle WH detailee interaction.”
Strzok was cited in documents released Friday by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a release on the Judiciary Committee’s website that comments Strzok made disagreeing with the report in The New York Times about alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign “are an admission that there was no reliable evidence that anyone from the Trump Campaign was working with Russian Intelligence Agencies in any form.”
“The statements by Mr. Strzok question the entire premise of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump Campaign and make it even more outrageous that the Mueller team continued this investigation for almost two and a half years. Moreover, the statements by Strzok raise troubling questions as to whether the FBI was impermissibly unmasking and analyzing intelligence gathered on U.S. persons,” Graham said.
According to the release, “The document further shows that the FBI’s assertion to the FISA court that ‘the FBI believes that Russia’s efforts to influence U.S. policy were likely being coordinated between the RIS [Russian Intelligence Services] and [Trump campaign aide Carter] Page, and possibly others’ appears to be a misrepresentation. This is because, in his comments on the Times article, Strzok asserts that “[w]e have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with IOs [Intelligence Officials]. … We are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials.”
“The document also indicates that the FBI may have been using foreign intelligence gathering techniques to impermissibly unmask and analyze existing and future intelligence collection regarding U.S. persons associated with the Trump campaign,” the release said.
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