A new batch of messages between top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page raises “serious concerns about the impartiality” of the agency’s senior leaders who led investigations into Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told the Washington Examiner.
Grassley released seven pages of text messages between Strzok and Page on Thursday, Jan. 25. In one of the messages, the pair, who had an illicit affair at the time, discuss the necessity of pulling punches during their interview with Hillary Clinton since she may become president.
“One more thing: she might be our next president. The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?” Page wrote on Feb. 25, 2016.
Strzok replied: “Agreed. I called Bill and relayed what we discussed. He agrees. I will email you and [redacted] same.”
“Loaded for bear” is an allusion for preparing oneself with sufficient weaponry for hunting large game. The “Bill” that the couple is referring to is FBI head counterintelligence Bill Priestap, investigators believe.
In another text exchange, Strzok and Page reveal that the then-FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki thought that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should recuse himself from investigating Clinton.
McCabe’s wife received a $500,000 donation for her Senate bid from Clinton ally and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. According to the FBI, McAuliffe had no conflict of interest, but Rybicki thought McCabe should recuse himself anyway due to “perception.”
“Rybicki just called to check in. He very clearly 100% believes that Andy should be recused because of the ‘perception,’” Page wrote.
Grassley listed his concerns in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Grassley’s committee is conducting oversight of the FBI and DOJ and how the two agencies handled the investigation of Clinton’s private use of an email server.
Strzok and Page came under fire when text revealing their obvious bias against President Donald Trump became public. Both were part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in U.S. elections, but have been removed.
In one exchange Strzok and Page discussed an “insurance policy” in case Trump won the election. In another conversation, the pair spoke of a “secret society,” according to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) who has reviewed a set of messages which have not yet been made public.
An informant told lawmakers that the secret society consisted of top-tier officials and held secret offsite meetings, Fox News reported. An FBI source told True Pundit that messages among the FBI’s top brass contain discussions about initiating harm to Trump.
The DOJ briefly claimed that five months of messages between Strzok and Page could not be recovered. Days later, the DOJ inspector general said that the messages have been found and are now being recovered.
Grassley’s concerns about the newest batch of text messages come while Republicans on the House Committee on Intelligence prepare to release a potentially devastating memo which details political abuse of government surveillance against Trump and his associates.
Lawmakers who have viewed the memo call its contents “worse than Watergate” and liken its details to a “palace coup.”