Time line article in the post is super specific and not good. Doesn’t make sense because I didn’t have specific information to give, says Lisa Page, in a text message to FBI agent Peter Strzok
Several congressional committees are investigating whether employees of the FBI and Department of Justice leaked information to several media outlets, after text messages between senior FBI officials revealed they may have communicated with reporters. The committees are seeking specific information about employees who may have provided information to the media used in stories targeting Trump campaign officials and revealed information about the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.
The House Intelligence Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee are sifting through the first batch of 375 text messages between demoted FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his FBI colleague and mistress FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Those text messages released by the Justice Department last month to Congress and a select media are only a small portion of the remaining 9,500 text messages between the pair that have yet to be made public.
“We have the commitment from DOJ to get all the text messages,” said a congressional official with the House Intelligence Committee, who said the committee is actively investigating any unauthorized alleged leaks to the media.
“But at this time, we don’t have anything beyond the initial batch that they gave us and were already shown to the press,” the official added.
At the time Strzok and Page were sharing the text messages, he was a lead investigator into the Trump campaign and allegations that members of Trump’s team may have colluded with Russians. Strozk was also one of two FBI agents that questioned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and he was also involved in the questioning of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Flynn recently pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, but the circumstances surrounding the leak of Flynn’s highly classified phone conversation with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to the Washington Post is also under investigation, sources said.
One of the text messages the congressional committees are interested in involves Strzok and Page discussing a story published in the Washington Post.
On Nov. 3, 2016, just days before the election, Page texted Strzok, and mentions a call she had with FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki.
“Sorry Rybicki called,” Page states. “Time line article in the post is super specific and not good. Doesn’t make sense because I didn’t have specific information to give.”
Strzok, responds, “what post article?”
Page then states, “just went up. WaPo.” Page apparently was referencing an article in the Washington Post.
The House Intelligence Committee also asked for specific information on special counsel attorney Andrew Weissmann, as reported last week on saraacarter.com.
Weissmann, now a senior attorney with the special counsel, was allegedly referred to the Justice Department by the FBI over a questionable meeting he had with the media sometime in April, 2017, according to sources. Justice Department officials are currently investigating the matter and have agreed to provide the information to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA.
Nunes sent a letter Saturday to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week, asking that the information on Weissmann be delivered by Jan. 11.
FBI officials declined comment on the specific text messages between Strzok and Page, as well as the alleged referral of Weissman by the bureau to the DOJ.
There are currently 27 ongoing criminal leak investigations being handled by the Justice Department, according to testimony provided by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He noted that number is triple the amount of investigations that were being conducted by the department in the past the three years.
Strzok was removed last year from the office of special counsel after Special Counsel Robert Mueller was informed by the DOJ’s Inspector General that Page and Strzok had shared numerous anti-Trump text messages with each other.
I wouldn’t search on your work phone, ,,, no idea what that might trigger, FBI Agent Peter Strzok writes back to FBI Attorney Lisa Page.
In other texts messages between Page and Strzok they discuss attempting to track down New York Times reporter Matt Apuzzo before the election.
“We got a list of kids with their parents’ names. How many Matt Apuzzo’s (sic) could there be in DC,” Page texted. “Showed J a picture, he said he thinks he has seen a guy who kinda looks like that, but always really schlubby. I said that sounds like every reporter I have ever seen.”
Page then says, “found what I think might be their address, too.”
“He’s TOTALLY schlubby. Don’t you remember,” Strzok replies.
Page then states she found information on Apuzzo’s wife, saying “found address looking for her. Lawyer.”
“I wouldn’t search on your work phone, no idea what that might trigger,” Strzok writes back to Page.
“Oops. Too late,” says Page.
On Friday, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Lindsey Graham, R – S.C., issued a criminal referral to the Justice Department, to examine whether former MI-6 British spy Christopher Steele lied to the FBI. Steele was hired by the controversial research firm Fusion GPS to compile a dossier on Trump, his campaign staff and any possible connections with Russia.
Grassley and Graham, who had attached a classified memorandum to the letter to Rosenstein, said the committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made false statements “regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier.”
“Attached please find a classified memorandum related to certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple US news outlets regarding the so-called ‘Trump dossier’ that Mr. Steele compiled on behalf of Fusion GPS for the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also provided to the FBI,” they stated in the letter. The classified memorandum was not made public.
Former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress previously that he did not authorize any leaks. Comey, however, admitted to leaking his memos to a friend after he was fired by President Trump, stating he hoped it would lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor.