Two pages of newly released text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show that Strzok considered joining the special counsel due to “unfinished business.”
“For me, and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business,” he texted Page on May 19, 2017, two days after the special counsel convened. “Unleashed it with MYE. Now i need to fix it and finish it.”
“MYE” is a reference to Midyear Exam, the code name given the Clinton email investigation. Strzok played a key role on the investigation, including watering down language in a statement exonerating Hillary Clinton.
The text messages were part of a batch of 384 pages of messages handed over to Congress on Friday. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released two pages of messages on Tuesday morning.
The two pages reveal Strzok and Page’s thinking when deciding whether to join the special counsel team. Strzok, deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division, discussed the pros and cons of doing so.
Strzok suggested to Page that he wanted to become Special Agent in Charge of the D.C. field office, then assistant director of the counterintelligence division, then lead the national security branch.
“And then I think…” he texted. “A case which will be in the history books … . This is a chance to DO. In maybe the most important case of our lives.”
He also expressed concerns that with Jim Comey — referenced as D for “director” — gone and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe retiring soon, that he would have no one looking out for him to move up the chain.
“Who says I get another promotion from DAD?!?” he wrote, in likely reference to the associate deputy director.
After Page advised Strzok not to join the team twice, he wrote: “Why not, re me?”
“Who gives a f*ck, one more AD like [redacted] or whoever. An investigation leading to impeachment?”
At one point, Page cautioned Strzok not to text about the topic.
“We should stop from having this conversation here. Just tell bill you need another day and we can discuss tomorrow,” she wrote, in likely reference to Bill Priestap, assistant director of the counterintelligence division.”
Throughout the exchange, he also tried to talk Page into joining the team, too. Page indicated that someone was already trying to convince her to join the team, but expressed doubt.
“We can’t work closely on another case again, though obviously, I want you to do what is right for you,” she wrote, in possible reference to their extramarital affair.
When Strzok asked her if that was playing into her decision, she wrote, “No. Not at all. I just think we are both ready for a change. Truly.”
Page added: “is just about different realistic outcomes of this case.”
Strzok responded, “that’s definitely true,” and appeared to also express doubt about the special counsel.
“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,” he wrote.
“Regardless of the outcome,” he added, “I think there’s a certain savvy business decision for you to do it. 600k/year + doing white hat corporate investigations isn’t a bad exit strategy.”
Both Strzok and Page ended up joining the special counsel team. Page took a 45-day assignment, which ended in July.
Strzok was removed from the team shortly thereafter, when the text messages were discovered by the Justice Department inspector general.
The DOJ inspector general is investigating whether political bias played a role in the Clinton email investigation and the initial FBI probe into the Trump campaign.