July 13, 2018 – Ray McGovern: Moon-Strzok No More, Lisa Page Spills the Beans
“Former FBI attorney Lisa Page has reportedly told a joint committee of the House of Representatives that when FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok texted her on May 19, 2017 saying there was “no big there there,” he meant there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
It was clearly a bad-luck day for Strzok, when on Friday the 13th this month Page gave her explanation of the text to the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees and in effect threw her lover, Strzok, under the bus.
Strzok’s apparent admission to Page about there being “no big there there” was reported on Friday by John Solomon in the Opinion section of The Hill based on multiple sources who he said were present during Page’s closed door interview.
Strzok’s text did not come out of the blue. For the previous ten months he and his FBI subordinates had been trying every-which-way to ferret out some “there” — preferably a big “there” — but had failed miserably. If Solomon’s sources are accurate, it is appearing more and more likely that there was nothing left for them to do but to make it up out of whole cloth, with the baton then passed to special counsel Robert Mueller.
The “no there there” text came just two days after former FBI Director James Comey succeeded in getting his friend Mueller appointed to investigate the alleged collusion that Strzok was all but certain wasn’t there.
Robert Parry, the late founder and editor of Consortium News whom Solomon described to me last year as his model for journalistic courage and professionalism, was already able to discern as early as March 2017 the outlines of what is now Deep State-gate, and, typically, was the first to dare report on its implications.
Parry’s article, written two and a half months before Strzok texted the self-incriminating comment to Page on there being “no big there there,” is a case study in professional journalism. His very first sentence entirely anticipated Strzok’s text: “The hysteria over ‘Russia-gate’ continues to grow … but at its core there may be no there there.”(Emphasis added.)
Courage at The Hill
Solomon’s article merits a careful read, in toto. Here are the most germane paragraphs:
“It turns out that what Strzok and Lisa Page were really doing that day [May 19, 2017] was debating whether they should stay with the FBI and try to rise through the ranks to the level of an assistant director (AD) or join Mueller’s special counsel team. [Page has since left the FBI.]
“‘Who gives a f*ck, one more AD [Assistant Director] like [redacted] or whoever?’” Strzok wrote, weighing the merits of promotion, before apparently suggesting what would be a more attractive role: ‘An investigation leading to impeachment?’ …
“A few minutes later Strzok texted his own handicap of the Russia evidence: ‘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.’
“So the FBI agents who helped drive the Russia collusion narrative — as well as Rosenstein’s decision to appoint Mueller — apparently knew all along that the evidence was going to lead to ‘nothing’ and, yet, they proceeded because they thought there was still a possibility of impeachment.”
Solomon adds: “How concerned you are by this conduct is almost certainly affected by your love or hatred for Trump. But put yourself for a second in the hot seat of an investigation by the same FBI cast of characters: You are under investigation for a crime the agents don’t think occurred, but the investigation still advances because the desired outcome is to get you fired from your job. Is that an FBI you can live with?”
As noted, Strzok’s text was written two days after Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017. The day before, on May 16, The New York Times published a story that Comey leaked to it through an intermediary that was expressly designed (as Comey admitted in Congressional testimony three weeks later) to lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Hmmmmm.
Had Strzok forgotten to tell his boss that after ten months of his best investigative efforts — legal and other—he could find no “there there”?
Comey’s leak, by the way, was about alleged pressure from Trump on Comey to go easy on Gen. Michael Flynn for lying at an impromptu interrogation led by — you guessed it — the ubiquitous, indispensable Peter Strzok.
In any event, the operation worked like a charm — at least at first. And — absent revelation of the Strzok-Page texts — it might well have continued to succeed. After Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named Mueller, one of Comey’s best buddies, to be special counsel, Mueller, in turn, picked Strzok to lead the Russia-gate team, until the summer, when the Department of Justice Inspector General was given the Strzok-Page texts and refused to sit on them.” (Much more: Consortium News, 7/23/2018)
June 5, 2018 – Priestap was unaware how often Strzok met with McCabe
“Text messages sent between Strzok and Page, which were first obtained by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, suggest that McCabe was a preferred line of direct communication for Strzok. These same texts indicate that both Strzok and Page frequently met directly with McCabe. Priestap admitted he did not know the frequency of such meetings:
Mr. Brebbia: “Would they frequently meet with then Deputy Director McCabe without you being there?”
Mr. Priestap: “No. I have no idea of the frequency in which that might have occurred. But while responsible for this case, I couldn’t drop the thousands of others cases and matters, issues I was responsible for. And so I had numerous regular meetings outside of the office with other U.S. Government entities, what have you.
“And as a result, in this particular case, Pete would often be a point person if I was, for example, half the day at the Central Intelligence Agency, and things came up, they could go direct — ‘they’ meaning my 7th floor, EAD, deputy director, would know they could go straight, of course, with Pete.
“So I would think — I have no idea of the exact numbers, but these meetings absolutely would have occurred without me.”
A report published by Horowitz in June last year, which reviewed the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton email case, included the notable statement that several witnesses had informed the IG that Page “circumvented the official chain of command, and that Strzok communicated important Midyear case information to her, and thus to McCabe, without Priestap’s or Steinbach’s knowledge.” Steinbach, who was the executive assistant director and Priestap’s direct supervisor, left the FBI in early 2017.
Page’s role as special counsel to McCabe has been described by former FBI general counsel James Baker in congressional testimony as being both unique and undefined.
“I expected them [Page and McCabe] to report back to me about important things. And I had leave it to both of their discretion to figure out that — what important was, I know it’s kind of vague. But that was how we were supposed to try to work it out,” Baker told lawmakers on Oct. 3, 2018. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/29/2019)
May 23, 2018 – Editorial: How the Clinton-Emails Investigation Intertwined with the Russia Probe
By: Andrew C. McCarthy
(…) “It was a little after midnight on May 4, 2016. FBI lawyer Lisa Page was texting her paramour, FBI counterespionage agent Peter Strzok, about the most stunning development to date in the 2016 campaign: Donald Trump was now the inevitable Republican nominee. He would square off against Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ certain standard-bearer.
The race was set . . . between two major-party candidates who were both under investigation by the FBI.
In stunned response, Strzok wrote what may be the only words we need to know, the words that reflected the mindset of his agency’s leadership and of the Obama administration: “Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE.”
MYE. That’s Mid-Year Exam, the code-word the FBI had given to the Hillary Clinton emails probe.”
(…) “When Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s shameful Arizona tarmac meeting with former President Clinton becomes a scandal in late June, she tries to mitigate the damage by announcing an intention to accept whatever recommendation the FBI makes. Lisa Page spitefully texts Peter Strzok. “And yeah, it’s a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought.”
That was July 1. The very next day, the FBI does its just-for-show interview of Mrs. Clinton. Three mornings later, July 5 (at the start of the work week after Independence Day), Comey holds his press conference to announce that, of course, no charges will be brought.
To accomplish this, he effectively rewrites the classified-information statute Clinton violated; barely mentions the tens of thousands of official government business emails that she destroyed; claims without any elaboration that the FBI can see no evidence of obstruction; and omits mention of her just-concluded interview in which — among other things — she pretended not to know what the markings on classified documents meant.
On the very same day, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome travels to London to interview Christopher Steele, who has already started to pass his sensational dossier allegations to the bureau. And with the help of CIA director John Brennan and British intelligence, the FBI is ready to run a spy — a longtime CIA source — at Carter Page in London on July 11, just as he arrives there from Moscow.
With the pressure to finish MYE in the rearview mirror, Hillary Clinton looked like a shoo-in to beat Donald Trump. By mid September, Lisa Page was saying as much at a meeting in Deputy Director McCabe’s office. But Strzok was hedging his bets: Maybe “there’s no way [Trump] 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.”
Soon, as the campaign wound down, the FBI and the Obama Justice Department were on the doormat of the FISA court, obtaining a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, substantially based on allegations in the Steele dossier — an uncorroborated Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed. Meanwhile, the FBI/CIA spy was being run at George Papadopoulos, and even seeking a role in the Trump campaign from its co-chairman, Sam Clovis.
Or maybe you think these things are unrelated . . .” (Read more: National Review, 5/23/2018)
April 27, 2018 – Another batch of Strzok, Page text messages are released by the DOJ
“Much of the messaging is disjointed because of the one-sided capture. However, some information is decipherable and very interesting.
FBI Head of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap, Peter Strzok’s boss, features heavily in convos. This makes sense since the perspective in the release is from Strzok’s side of their communications. The name “Jen” also figures prominently and appears to be a person within the FBI Counterintelligence Unit that Strzok views as a competitor of sorts.
Important Note – It definitely appears Page and Strzok were using joint G-Mail account. Notes to “clear GMail” indicates they were using a running draft to talk at length about ongoing activities. [This is also a common tactic of terrorist group communications]”
August, 2017 – Special counsel Robert Mueller removes Peter Strzok from his team of investigators
“It was revealed on Saturday that Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team in August after the Department of Justice’s inspector general discovered that he exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, an FBI lawyer named Lisa Page who also worked on the Mueller team.
Strzok was sent to the FBI’s human resources department. The circumstances of the demotion remained a mystery for several months, with Mueller’s office refusing to provide background information on the personnel move.
The revelation of Strzok’s biased texts is significant because of his central role in both the Russia investigation and the Clinton email probe. As the FBI’s No. 2 counter-terrorism official, Strzok helped start both of the investigations. He also conducted interviews with former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the Russia investigation and with Clinton and several of her top aides in the email inquiry.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/05/2017)
July 19, 2017 – Strzok testifies Pientka wrote Flynn’s FBI 302 report, evidence suggests he lied
On 07/19/17 Strzok was interviewed by a Senior Assistant Special Counsel & an FBI Supervisory Special Agent
This was Strzok’s “exit” interview after he’d been forced to leave the Special Counsel due to discovery of his biased text messages
It’s a felony to lie in this interview:
Strzok was asked about his role in the investigation of @GenFlynn, and said that he, “Strzok conducted the interview” and [redacted] “was primarily responsible for taking notes and writing the FD-302”
Redacted name refers to (Joe) Pientka, his partner on the Flynn case:
So if Pientka was NOT actually “primarily” responsible for “writing the FD-302” or “taking notes”, then Strzok lied.
Newly available evidence strongly suggests Strzok did lie: it was *Strzok* himself who wrote the 302, & largely from his own notes, NOT Pientka’s
1. Handwritten interview notes said to be Strzok’s and Pientka’s
2. 302 Drafts*
3. New Strzok texts
*The earliest 302 DOJ has provided is from 02/10/17. The Flynn interview was on 01/24/17 (17 days earlier). So it is highly likely there are earlier drafts, but on Oct 29 DOJ (Brandon Van Grack; a former Senior Assistant Special Counsel) denied DOJ is “hiding” an “original 302”
I analyzed both Strzok and Pientka’s notes, line by line and side by side with the 02/10/17 FD-302
This included matching the notes to the subject topics discussed in the 302 and looking for words and phrases used only in Strzok’s notes, only in Pientka’s notes, in both, or neither:
SUMMARY (1 of 2)
—The 302 systematically & overwhelmingly (30+ examples) contains words and phrases ONLY noted by Strzok & NOT by Pientka
—Crucially this includes two where Pientka explicitly comments that he “couldn’t remember” Flynn saying this and “[I] dont…have in my notes”
SUMMARY (2 of 2)
Attached is a summary by topic (e.g “RT dinner”)
—Red text is phrases/words in the 302 that are lifted from Strzok’s notes, in bold are verbatim
—🚨Purple text is the 2 crucial examples that Pientka explicitly says he didn’t have noted/couldn’t remember:
To put it mildly, this evidence is inconsistent with Pientka “primarily” writing the 302, as Strzok claimed
Even if Pientka had access to Strzok’s notes, its incredibly unlikely he would systematically rely on Strzok’s notes 30+ times, repeatedly using Strzok’s linguistic style
And even if you could stretch to believing that, Pientka certainly wouldn’t include in a draft 302 (a legal record that can be the basis for a felony charge) words & phrases *he couldn’t remember*, that only appeared in Strzok’s notes AND add “I don’t remember this” to the 302
Also, the new Strzok texts show Strzok communicating with Lisa Page on the same day of the 302 draft (02/10/17), adding “edits” from Lisa Page, “finalizing it”, working on it over the weekend & *then* “sending to Joe”. All inconsistent with Pientka being “primarily responsible”
—Strzok told the Special Counsel/FBI that Pientka wrote the 302 interview record of Flynn
—Strzok’s text messages and the Strzok/Pientka handwritten notes show that’s likely false, and Strzok himself wrote the 302
—Strzok likely committed the same felony @GenFlynn was charged with (18 USC §1001)
—The Special Counsel and FBI had access to the same exculpatory evidence in this thread BEFORE @GenFlynn pled guilty to the felony his own interviewer committed
May 19, 2017 – Two days after Mueller is appointed, Strzok hesitates to join his team and tells Lisa Page, “because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there”
Newly released text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and his colleague Lisa Page reveal that Strzok was reluctant to join special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference because he feared the team wouldn’t find anything noteworthy.
“You and I both know the odds are nothing,” Strzok said in a text to Page on May 19, 2017. “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.”
The fresh batch of texts was released on Tuesday by Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, after the Department of Justice delivered about 384 pages containing around 9,000 texts to Congress on Friday.
Despite his misgivings about the case, Strzok did seem to appreciate the gravity of the investigation, which encompasses President Donald Trump and his associates as well.” (Read more: Business Insider, 1/23/2018)
May 17th, 2017 – Rosenstein appoints Mueller as Special Counsel, Strzok/Page text plans for the team
“May 17th, 2017 Mueller is appointed. The Strzok/Page text messages reveal discussions of team being assembled. Strzok notes “emailing with Aaron.” Well that’s Aaron Zebley former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s Chief of Staff who was selected for Special Counsel position. He’s also a partner at WilmerHale, and Strzok mentions to Page that she might find herself working at WilmerHale if she plays her cards right.
The fact that Agent Strzok was emailing with “Aaron” Zebley prior to the official appointment of the special counsel team should likely raise a few eyebrows. Of course within this time-frame of the messaging released, the redactions increase.
Toward the end of the release a more thorough picture emerges of who was selecting Robert Mueller’s team and why. Andrew McCabe was key player along with James Baker. Reading how this was done blows the entire Mueller “White Hat Theory” to smithereens. However, the conversation does highlight an aspect we have previously discussed. Robert Mueller did not select the “small group” to work with him; but rather the DOJ/FBI “small group” appears to have selected him.
Specifically Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are discussing who is best ideological ally to help their Mueller Special Counsel team “get Trump” (discussions on pages 46, 47, 48, 49 in year 2017 section).
Predictably right when those juicy tidbits about the Mueller agenda are surfacing, the text message release abruptly stops on May 23rd, 2017.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 4/27/2018) (Strzok/Page text messages)
May 17, 2017 – Comey, Strzok and Page testimonies confirm the FBI began the Mueller probe before proving a connection between Trump and Russia
(…) “It’s a reflection of us still not knowing,” Page told Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) when questioned about texts she and Strzok exchanged in May 2017 as Robert Mueller was being named special counsel to take over the Russia investigation.
With that statement, Page acknowledged a momentous fact: After nine months of using some of the most awesome surveillance powers afforded to U.S. intelligence, the FBI still had not made a case connecting Trump or his campaign to Russia’s election meddling.
Page opined further, acknowledging “it still existed in the scope of possibility that there would be literally nothing” to connect Trump and Russia, no matter what Mueller or the FBI did.
“As far as May of 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question,” she said at another point.
(…) Shortly after he was fired, [June 2017], ex-FBI Director James Comey told the Senate there was not yet evidence to justify investigating Trump for colluding with Russia. “When I left, we did not have an investigation focused on President Trump,” Comey testified.
And Strzok, the counterintelligence boss and leader of the Russia probe, texted Page in May 2017 that he was reluctant to join Mueller’s probe and leave his senior FBI post because he feared “there’s no big there, there.”
(…) So, by the words of Comey, Strzok and Page, we now know that the Trump Justice Department — through Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — unleashed the Mueller special counsel probe before the FBI could validate a connection between Trump and Russia.
Which raises the question: If there was no concrete evidence of collusion, why did we need a special counsel?” (Read more: The Hill, 9/16/2018)
May 16, 2017 – Opinion: Robert Mueller did interview President Trump regarding obstruction case
With a larger portion of the U.S. electorate now beginning to realize there never was a Trump Russia-Collusion-Conspiracy case to begin with; and with people now realizing almost all of Mueller investigative time was spent gathering evidence for an ‘obstruction case’; and with new revelations from Andrew McCabe, John Dowd and Mueller officials overlayed on the previous Strzok/Page texts; we can now clearly reconcile a previous issue:
The May 16, 2017, Mueller meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office.
There has been a great deal of flawed interpretation of the May 16th meeting between President Trump, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller. Some people even mistakenly used that meeting as a cornerstone for a claim that Mueller and Rosenstein were working to the benefit of President Trump. However, if you overlay the new information, there is considerable evidence that interview was for the purpose of Mueller determining if he could achieve an ‘obstruction’ goal. Here’s how…
FBI Director James Comey was fired on Tuesday May 9th, 2017.
According to his own admissions (NBC and CBS), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe immediately began a criminal ‘obstruction’ investigation the next day, Wednesday May 10th; and he immediately enlisted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
These McCabe statements line up with with text message conversations between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok – (same dates 5/9 and 5/10):
It now appears that important redaction is “POTUS” or “TRUMP”. [Yes, this is evidence that some unknown DOJ officials redacted information from these texts that would have pointed directly to the intents of the DOJ and FBI. (WARNING: Don’t get hung on it.)
The next day, Thursday May 11th, 2017, Andrew McCabe testifies to congress. With the Comey firing fresh in the headlines, Senator Marco Rubio asked McCabe: “has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped, or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigation?”
McCabe responded: “So there has been no effort to impede our investigation to date. Quite simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”
However, again referencing his own admissions, on Friday May 12th McCabe met with DAG Rod Rosenstein to discuss the issues, referencing the criminal ‘obstruction’ case McCabe had opened just two days before. According to McCabe:
“[Rosenstein] asked for my thoughts about whether we needed a special counsel to oversee the Russia case. I said I thought it would help the investigation’s credibility. Later that day, I went to see Rosenstein again. This is the gist of what I said: I feel strongly that the investigation would be best served by having a special counsel.” (link)
Recap: Tuesday-Comey Fired; Wednesday-McCabe starts criminal ‘obstruction’ case; Thursday-McCabe testifies to congress “no effort to impede”; Friday-McCabe and Rosenstein discuss Special Counsel.
After the weekend, Monday May 15th, McCabe states he and Rosenstein conferred again about the Special Counsel approach. McCabe: “I brought the matter up with him again after the weekend.”
On Tuesday May 16th, Rod Rosenstein takes Robert Mueller to the White House to talk with the target of the ‘obstruction’ criminal investigation, under the ruse of bringing Mueller in for a meeting about becoming FBI Director. This meeting was quite literally advanced reconnaissance.
The next day, Wednesday May 17th, 2017, Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe go to brief the congressional “Gang-of-Eight”: Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, ¹Devin Nunes, Adam Schiff, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Richard Burr and Mark Warner.
(…) “On the afternoon of May 17, Rosenstein and I sat at the end of a long conference table in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. We were there to brief the so-called Gang of Eight—the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Rosenstein had, I knew, made a decision to appoint a special counsel in the Russia case.”
(…) “After reminding the committee of how the investigation began, I told them of additional steps we had taken. Then Rod took over and announced that he had appointed a special counsel to pursue the Russia investigation, and that the special counsel was Robert Mueller.” (link)
Immediately following this May 17, 2017, Go8 briefing, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein notified the public of the special counsel appointment.
According to President Trump’s Attorney John Dowd, the White House was stunned by the decision. [Link] Coincidentally, AG Jeff Sessions was in the oval office for unrelated business when White House counsel Don McGahn came in and informed the group. Jeff Sessions immediately offered his resignation, and Sessions’ chief-of-staff Jody Hunt went back to the Main Justice office to ask Rosenstein what the hell was going on.
Now, with hindsight and full understanding of exactly what the purposes and intents were for Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to bring Robert Mueller to the White House, revisit this video from June 2017:
(Republished with permission)
- Adam Schiff
- Andrew McCabe
- Chuck Schumer
- criminal obstruction investigation
- Department of Justice
- Devin Nunes
- Donald Trump
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Gang of Eight
- House Intelligence Committee
- James Comey
- Jeff Sessions
- Jody Hunt
- John Dowd
- Lisa Page
- Mark Warner
- May 2017
- Mitch McConnell
- Nancy Pelosi
- Oval Office
- Paul Ryan
- Peter Strzok
- Richard Burr
- Robert Mueller
- Rod Rosenstein
- Senate Intelligence Committee
- text messages