Senior FBI official Peter Strzok expressed reluctance to join the special counsel team investigating Russia collusion with the Trump campaign because there’s “no big there there,” text messages to his paramour reveal.
According to text messages released to Congress last Friday, Strzok discussed joining the team with fellow FBI official Lisa Page on May 19, 2017 — two days after the special counsel investigating Russia collusion was convened.
“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 that there’s no big there there,” he texted Page.
The text message was revealed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Tuesday morning on WISN’s The Jay Weber Show.
“In other words,” Johnson said, “Peter Strzok, who was the FBI deputy director of the counterintelligence division, the man who had a ‘plan’ to do something because he couldn’t abide Donald Trump being president, is saying that in his gut sense that there’s no big there there when it comes to the Mueller special counsel investigation — doesn’t know if he really wants to join that because his gut sense is there’s no big there there.”
“I think that’s kind of jaw-dropping,” he added.
Strzok, FBI deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division, had led the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s private server, which resulted in a statement exonerating her of any wrongdoing. He also launched the FBI’s initial investigation into Russian meddling and the Trump campaign.
He and Page both served on the special counsel team from its launch through July 2017. Page reportedly had a 45-day assignment on the team, and Strzok was removed from the team by Special Counsel Robert Mueller after he was notified about the text messages.
The text messages between Strzok and Page were first discovered by the Justice Department inspector general, who is investigating whether political bias played a role in the Clinton email or Russia investigations.
The DOJ has turned over hundreds of pages of text messages totaling more than 50,000 text messages between Strzok and Page. On Friday, the DOJ informed lawmakers that the FBI could not recover about five months worth of text messages between December 14, 2016 through May 17, 2017 — the day the special counsel convened — due to a technical glitch.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday evening that a review is already underway into what happened, and whether the text messages can be recovered.
Here are some text messages released by Johnson’s office: