NEW YORK — During Senate testimony last week, FBI agent Peter Strzok seemed to minimize the role of former FBI official Lisa Page in the agency’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server.
His statements are contrasted with the Justice Department’s recently released Inspector General report, which described an extraordinary system of communication set up between Page and former deputy director Andrew McCabe that bypassed the ordinary chain of command to communicate important information about the agency’s probe of Clinton’s email server.
The method of communication involved Strzok, who was romantically involved with Page, sending information on the Clinton probe to McCabe through Page, the report found.
Strzok did not mention those details when he was asked about Page’s involvement in the FBI’s Clinton investigation, simply describing Page instead as “not a member of the investigative team.”
Here is a transcript of those remarks:
QUESTION: Mr. Strzok, you were involved in investigating both the matter of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the so-called Russian collusion matter. Is that correct?
STRZOK: That is correct.
QUESTION: And Ms. page was also involved in both of those was the correct?
STRZOK: She was not a member of the investigative team for either. She was a senior staff member for Mr. McCabe who I believe began as deputy director.
QUESTION: But she was someone that you were communicating with on a fairly regular basis on these matters?
STRZOK: Yes sir.
Page and Strzok have been the subject of public controversy following revelations last December that they exchanged a series of anti-Trump text messages. Still more messages were revealed in the 500-plus page report released last month by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General.
One section of the report focuses on Page’s special liaison role between the team investigating Clinton, known as the “Midyear team,” and McCabe. The method of communication resulted in information not being filtered through other FBI officials, and according to the report, Page acknowledged that some within the FBI were upset by this setup.
The IG report found that Page, McCabe, and Strzok’s circle of contact cut out two top FBI officials from the chain of communication, namely E.W. Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and Michael Steinbach, who served as executive assistant director of the agency’s national security branch.
The report revealed:
Lisa Page, who was Special Counsel to McCabe, became involved in the Midyear investigation after McCabe became the Deputy Director in February 2016. Page told the OIG that part of her function was to serve as a liaison between the Midyear team and McCabe. Page acknowledged that her role upset senior FBI officials, but told the OIG that McCabe relied on her to ensure that he had the information he needed to make decisions, without it being filtered through multiple layers of management.
Several witnesses told the OIG that Page circumvented the official chain of command, and that Strzok communicated important Midyear case information to her, and thus to McCabe, without Priestap’s or Steinbach’s knowledge. McCabe said that he was aware of complaints about Page, and that he valued her ability to “spot issues” and bring them to his attention when others did not do so.
The IG report, meanwhile, contained previously unknown text messages between Page and Strzok in which the pair discussed stopping Trump from becoming president.
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right!?” Page texted Strzok in one August 2016 message.
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.