Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a report Wednesday suggesting FBI Special Agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page gave updates on the bureau’s investigation to President Obama into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to send classified information.
The committee focused on the FBI’s investigation into the email server scandal, which included an extensive review of 384 pages of text messages between Strzok, who was removed from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into President Trump’s campaign, and Page, who serves as a senior FBI lawyer for the bureau.
In the report, Johnson reveals one set of texts messages between Strzok and Page, who were also having an affair, suggesting that they had been tasked by then FBI Director James Comey with putting together talking points for President Obama, who apparently wanted to be briefed on all aspects of the case.
Page wrote in a Sept. 2, 2016, text exchange with Strzok that she was preparing the talking points because “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.” She was referring to President Obama in the text.
“Although sometimes cryptic and disjointed due to their nature, these text messages raise several questions about the FBI and its investigation of classified information on Secretary Clinton’s private email server,” Johnson states in the report. “Strzok and Page discussed serving to ’protect the country from the menace’ of Trump ’enablers,’ and the possibility of an ’insurance policy’ against the ’risk’ of a Trump presidency.”
The report reiterates earlier obtained text messages between the FBI agents where they discussed “Attorney General Loretta Lynch knowing that Secretary Clinton would not face charges before the FBI had interviewed Secretary Clinton and before her announcement that she would accept Director Comey’s prosecution decision.”
The pair of agents also wrote about drafting talking points for “Director Comey because President Obama,” as Page texts, “ wants to know everything we’re doing.”
The texts appear to contradict President Obama’s statement in an April 2016 interview on Fox News Sunday when he said that he was not privy to the details of the ongoing investigation.
“I do not talk to the Attorney General about pending investigations,” Obama said. “I do not talk to the FBI directors about pending investigations. We have a strict line, and always have maintained it.”
Obama also stated that Clinton, “would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy…What I also know is that there’s classified and then there’s classified. There’s stuff that is really top secret top secret, and then there’s stuff that is being presented to the president, the secretary of state, you may not want going out over the wire.”
Stzok and Page, now at the center of ongoing Congressional inquiries into their behavior, sent thousands of texts to each other. They often discussed their views on the investigation and possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. The pair also made disparaging remarks about President Trump, other government officials and American’s who voted for Trump.
Concern mounted when the text messages were retrieved by the DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is conducting his own investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email server.
In the report, Johnson states concern over Comey’s previous Congressional testimony. He told members of Congress while he was under oath that he had not consulted with the Justice Department or the White House regarding the investigation. That would appear to be a direct contradiction to the texts between Page and Strzok, Johnson’s report states.
President Trump tweeted out Wednesday the “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!” Republicans are seizing on the opportunity to move forward with their investigations into the issues, despite pushback from the Department of Justice, FBI and Democrats.
Johnson states in the report that the text about Obama “raises additional questions about the type and extent of President Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email scandal and the FBI investigation of it.”
The report adds that other questions that “deserve further examination” include whether “any personal animus and/or political bias influenced the FBI’s investigation,” and whether the Obama Justice Department or White House influenced the investigation.
“The text messages raise several important questions that deserve further examination,” Johnson’s report states.
He wants to know “whether, and the extent to which, any personal animus and/or political bias influenced the FBI’s investigation.”
They also want to know what “extent to which, the Obama Department of Justice or White House influenced the FBI’s investigation and…whether, and the extent to which, any personal animus and/or political bias influenced the FBI’s actions with respect to President Trump.”
UPDATE: 2/7 @ 9:21pm EST – The FBI denies that these texts were correlated or referring to President Obama. Time will tell.