Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley fired off a letter late Wednesday to the DOJ, asking Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to explain several disturbing revelations contained within anti-Trump text messages sent between FBI investigators Peter Strzok and his FBI-Attorney mistress Lisa Page – both of whom were central to the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia probe, and both of whom were removed from Robert Mueller’s Special counsel when their text messages came to light. Rosenstein appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to answer questions about Strzok, Page and Mueller’s investigation.
Rosenstein stood by Robert Mueller’s investigation, telling lawmakers dismayed at a trove of damning text messages that he is “not aware of any impropriety” on the Special Counsel (which is stacked with anti-Trump Democrats, who have reportedly also sent anti-Trump messages), saying “I think it’s important that when we talk about political affiliation… The issue of bias is something different,” adding “We recognize we have employees with political opinions. And it’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions. And so, I believe that Director Mueller understands that and he is running that office appropriately.”
Grassley raised serious concerns in his letter to the DOJ addressed to Rosenstein, as just two of over 10,000 (!?) text messages referred to an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency, and a special phone they used “when we talk about hillary because it can’t be traced.”
Grassley’s letter reads:
“Yesterday, the Justice Department released a subset of text messages requested by the Committee. The limited release of 375 text messages between Mr. Peter Strzok and Ms. Lisa Page indicate a highly politicized FBI environment during both the Clinton and Russia investigations. For example, one text message from Ms. Page proclaims to Mr. Strzok, “God(,) Trump is a loathsome human.
Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency. Mr. Strzok writes the following to Ms. Page:
I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…
Presumably, “Andy” refers to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. So whatever was being discussed extended beyond just Page and Stzrok at least to Mr. McCabe, who was involved in supervising both investigations.
Another text from Ms. Page to Mr. Strzok on April 2, 2016, says the following:
So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting bc you feel bad that you’re gone so much but it can’t be helped right now.
That text message occurred during Mr. Strzok’s involvement in the Clinton investigation and days before he interviewed Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills on April 5, 2016 and April 9, 2016, respectively. Thus, the mention of “hillary” may refer to Secretary Clinton and therefore could indicate that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page engaged in other communications about an ongoing investigation on a different phone in an effort to prevent it from being traced.”
Grassley then asks the following questions of the DOJ:
- On what date did you become aware of the text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page and on what date were they each removed from the Special Counsel’s office?
- Are there any other records relating to the conversation in Andrew McCabe’s office shortly before the text described above on August 15, 2016? [the “insurance policy” text] If so please produce them to the Committee.
- Please provide all records relating to Andrew McCabe’s communications with Peter Stzrok or Lisa Page between August 7, 2016 and August 23, 2016.
- What steps have you taken to determine whether Mr. Strzok, Mr. Page, and Mr. McCabe should face disciplinary action for their conduct?
- My understanding is that the Inspector General’s current investigation is limited to the handling of the Clinton email matter only. What steps have you taken to determine whether steps taken during the campaign to escalate the Russia investigation might have been a result of the political animus evidenced by these text messages rather than on the merits?
- Has the Department identified the referenced “that phone” Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page used to discuss Secretary Clinton? What steps has the Department taken to review the records on this other phone that allegedly “can’t be traced.” If none, please explain why
Grassley also tweeted “FBI owes answers abt “insurance policy” against Trump victory,” adding “…why would senior FBI leaders use secret phones that “cant be traced” to talk Hillary?”
FBI owes answers abt "insurance policy" against Trump victory…& if nothing to hide, why would senior FBI leaders use secret phones that "cant be traced" to talk Hillary? DOJ needs to give JudicComm full transparency/cooperation 2 restore public trust. FBI CANT BE POLITICAL
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) December 13, 2017
Grassley grilled Senate Democrats last week for their unwillingness to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, stating that the Democrats on the committee he oversees “only want to talk about [President] Trump.”
There are two major controversies plaguing the credibility of the Justice Department and the FBI right now. On the one hand the Trump Russia investigation, and then on the other hand the handling of the Clinton investigation. Any congressional oversight related to either one of these topics is not credible without also examining the other. Both cases were active during last year’s campaign. Both cases have been linked to the firing of the FBI Director.
These questions go to the heart of the integrity of our federal law enforcement and justice system.
With Chuck Grassley on the warpath in the Senate, and the House Intel Committee chasing down FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, one has to wonder how long the FBI and DOJ are going to be able to maintain this farce before shutting it down – especially if in fact other members of Mueller’s team also sent anti-Trump messages as journalist Sara Carter has claimed.