New text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have surfaced and they indicate that they discussed using briefings to the Trump team after the 2016 election to identify people they could “develop for potential relationships,” track lines of questioning and “assess” changes in “demeanor”.
The texts, initially released in 2018 by a Senate committee, are under renewed scrutiny by congressional investigators reviewing the genesis of the FBI’s counter-intelligence probe that was opened in late July 2016 by then-agent Strzok, reported Fox News.
As Fox News reported, it was not clear from the messages whether Strzok and Page merely sought to build bridges with the incoming administration, or wanted to engineer the briefings to investigate Trump and his associates.
“This is yet more evidence that the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation was filled with irregularities. The more we discover about the true origins of the investigation, the more abnormal it appears in every conceivable way,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said.
On Thursday, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Homeland Security Committee chair Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr inquiring about the DOJ’s review of “FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign,” and seeking more information on the transition counter-intelligence briefings as well as media leaks.
“Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operations? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication? Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.” Grassley and Johnson wrote. (Continued Below)
Strzok and Page’s text messages:
Chief Intelligence correspondent, Catherine Herridge said, “Nine days after the presidential election, FBI agents Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page exchanged texts that are under new scrutiny by congressional investigators reviewing the genesis of the Russia probe.”
The string of texts and a prior email reveal a prior briefing with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The text appears to show a strategy and staffing for an upcoming session. (Video Below)
Herridge continued, “A former FBI intelligence specialist said the texts appear to conflict rules made up by then FBI Director, Robert Mueller, known as the ‘Domestic Investigation Operations Guide.'”
Attorney General William Barr has vowed to look into the origins of the Russia probe and whether the “spying” on Trump’s campaign was adequately predicated.