Investigators have found additional communications between FBI official Peter Strzok and his lover, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, that show his team was rushing in the fall of 2016 to find evidence of collusion by then-candidate Donald Trump, according to a new report.
The Hill‘s John Solomon reported that investigators have found communications that show “Strzok and his counterintelligence team rushing in the fall of 2016 to find ‘derogatory’ information from informants or a ‘pretext’ to accelerate the probe and get a surveillance warrant on figures tied to the future president.”
The unearthed memos show that Strzok, Page and others at the FBI seized on news articles in September 2016 that said the FBI was investigating former campaign adviser Carter Page’s travel to Moscow.
Page wrote a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey saying the stories were “completely false.”
But Strzok wrote to Page on September 26, 2016, “At a minimum, the letter provides us a pretext to interview.” Within weeks, the FBI began monitoring Carter Page’s communications with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court warrant.
One email exchange between Strzok and Page showed they discussed talking points to get then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to get a high-ranking DOJ official to sign off on the warrant.
“At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Page on Oct. 14, 2016.
More communications show that four days later the FBI were rushing to get approval for another FISA warrant for another Russia-related investigation, code-named “Dragon.”
“Still an expedite?” one of the emails asked, regarding that second surveillance warrant.
“Any idea what time he can have it woods-ed by?” Strzok asked Page, referring to the Woods process to get the warrant approved. “I know it’s not going to matter because DOJ is going to take the time DOJ wants to take. I just don’t want this waiting on us at all.”
The day after Trump’s surprise win, the Strzok team discussed sharing “potential derogatory CI info” with others, presumably in the FBI. “CI” stands for “confidential informants.”
It has been reported that an FBI and CIA informant was used to surveil the Trump campaign — Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, who reached out to several campaign members as early as June 2016.
“I suggested we need to exchange our entire lists as we each have potential derogatory CI info the other doesn’t,” Strzok wrote on November 10, 2016.
It’s an extraordinary exchange, if for no other reason than this: The very day after Trump wins the presidency, some top FBI officials are involved in the sort of gum-shoeing normally reserved for field agents, and their goal is to find derogatory information about someone who had worked for the president-elect.
The FBI also named an executive with expertise in the FBI’s most sensitive surveillance equipment to be a liaison to the Trump transition team, the communications show.
There are several investigations underway into whether the DOJ or the FBI mishandled their probe into the Trump campaign. The DOJ inspector general is months into its review, but it is not expected to wrap up anytime soon.
The House Judiciary, Government Reform and Oversight, Intelligence Committee, and Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committees are also looking into DOJ/FBI conduct on the investigation.