The messages, which came to light in December 2017, fueled claims that the FBI was prejudiced against Trump and became ammunition for scores of angry tweets and public statements by the president and his supporters.
Page’s lawsuit said the attention has “radically altered her day-to-day life."
“The officials who authorized the disclosure and their allies sought to use, and ultimately did use, the messages to promote the false narrative that Plaintiff and others at the FBI were biased against President Trump, had conspired to undermine him, and otherwise had engaged in allegedly criminal acts, including treason,” Page’s complaint read.
The lawsuit comes as Page has for the first time publicly pushed back against the president’s broadsides after remaining quiet about the political firestorm that engulfed her roughly two years ago. Last week, she gave a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast in which she slammed Trump for his “sickening” attacks against her and said she wanted to “take my power back.”
Trump attacked Page personally at a campaign rally Tuesday night, spending several minutes parodying his perception of Page and Strzok’s relationship. He then claimed without evidence that Strzok needed a restraining order against Page when the relationship ended.
“This poor guy, did I hear he needed a restraining order after this whole thing, to keep him away from Lisa?” Trump asked the crowd at his Hershey, Penn., rally. “I don’t know if its true, the fake news will never report it, but it could be true.”
Page’s lawsuit was filed a day after the Justice Department’s inspector general released a report rebutting conservatives’ accusations that top FBI officials were driven by bias in their investigation of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.
Page and Strzok were key players in that investigation, as well as the probe of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for government work.
While working on those matters, the two used work phones to swap messages criticizing numerous politicians, including Trump, whom they called an “idiot.” In August 2016, after Page wrote Trump was “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
The Justice Department inspector general later compiled the texts as part of a larger body of documents it reviewed in its bias investigation.
In her lawsuit, Page claimed the release of the text messages with Strzok was intended to elevate the department’s standing with Trump at a time when the president was lambasting the department and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Officials allowed reporters covering the Justice Department to review the messages privately and instructed them not to reveal the department as the source, the lawsuit says.
“This clandestine approach is inconsistent with the disclosure of agency records for transparency purposes or to advance the public interest,” the lawsuit read.
Over the past two years, according to the lawsuit, Trump has targeted Page by name in more than 40 tweets and dozens of public statements.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the case.
Angela Fritz contributed to this report.