The FBI’s top counterintelligence agent, Bill Priestap, originally wanted controversial FBI agent Peter Strzok removed from the team investigating unsubstantiated claims of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the recently released Justice Department’s Inspector General report revealed.
Priestap’s request was overruled by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who served under disgraced ex-FBI chief James Comey, the report further related.
The report related that Steinbach was particularly concerned “about Strzok and [FBI attorney] Lisa Page working together because he was aware of instances where they bypassed the chain of command to advise McCabe about case related information that had not been provided to Priestap or Steinbach.”
In other words, Steinbach was concerned that McCabe was setting up communication methods about the Trump collusion case that would keep members of the FBI in the dark. Such a system would raise immediate questions about the veracity of the FBI’s Trump Russia probe.
The IG report relates that Priestap and Steinbach “said they did not know why McCabe kept Strzok assigned to the investigation.”
The report continues:
Strzok told the OIG he did not ask McCabe to keep him on the investigation and does not know whether Lisa Page requested Strzok remain on the investigation in conversations with McCabe. We found no evidence that Page made any such request of McCabe.
A separate 2018 Justice Department IG report on the FBI’s Hillary Clinton probe described an extraordinary system of communication set up between Page and 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.
A 7,700-plus word Washington Post article published June 23, 2017, meanwhile, first publically detailed the highly compartmentalized nature of the original Russia interference investigation and the manner in which other U.S. intelligence agencies were deliberately kept in the dark.
Former vice President Joe Biden was reportedly one of the few Obama administration officials who participated in secretive meetings during the controversial early stages of the Obama-era intelligence community’s initial operations regarding suspected Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
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 story.