Texts between two senior FBI officials involved in both the probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails and possible connections between Trump associates and Russia show the pair frequently discussed their political views, their intense dislike of candidate Donald Trump and their fear he might win.
A review of the texts between senior FBI agent Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page were sent to lawmakers Tuesday night. The texts are the subject of an ethics investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general, and they show the senior officials repeatedly offering harsh opinions about political figures. Among many other comments, the two called Trump “an idiot.”
The Washington Post reported recently that Strzok, the deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was removed from his position in late July as top FBI agent on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team when his bosses learned about the texts between him and Page.
Page had also worked on Mueller’s team — which is investigating possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian agents — but left that position earlier in July for what officials have said were unrelated reasons.
Strzok and Page were key players in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to do government work as secretary of state, as well as the probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.
During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The extramarital affair was problematic, those people said, but of greater concern among senior law enforcement officials were text messages the two exchanged during the Clinton investigation and campaign season in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.
The texts were sent to Congress the night before Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein was set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, where the messages between the two FBI officials could fuel Republican calls for a second special counsel to be appointed to investigate how the FBI handled the Clinton investigation.
One of the earliest texts, from 2015, shows Strzok calling Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Clinton’s rival in the race for the Democratic nomination, “an idiot like Trump. Figure they cancel each other out.’’
On March 4, 2016, Page texted, “God, Trump is a loathsome human,’’ to which Strzok replied, “Yet he may win.’’ Strzok then added, “Good for Hillary,’’ to which Page replied, “It is.’’
That conversation, which takes place after 2 a.m., includes Strzok texting, “God, Hillary should win 100,000,000-0.’’
That same night, Page notes Trump’s comment about the size of his hands and says, “This man can not be president.’’
The comments seem to be the pair discussing remarks made during political debates.
While defenders of Page and Strzok have said that their comments were harmless and that the issue was overblown, the two repeatedly expressed strong political opinions.
On March 16, 2016, Page texted Strzok: “I can not believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president.’’ The next month, she texted: “So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting bc you feel bad that you’re gone so much but it can’t be helped right now.’’
Over and over, the pair express their contempt for people beyond Trump and Clinton — other politicians, the media and lawmakers. “I LOATHE Congress,’’ Strzok texted Page on June 22, 2016.
During the Republican National Convention, Page texted, “wow, Donald Trump is an enormous d*uche.’’ Speaking of the Trump campaign’s apparent lack of coordination, she added: “It’s just a two-bit organization. I do so hope his disorganization comes to bite him hard in November.’’
Responding to Trump’s public fight with a Gold Star family in August 2016, Page texted, “Trump should go f himself.’’
On July 27, 2016, Page texted Strzok: “She just has to win now. I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.’’
That same month, Strzok wrote that he was “worried about what happens if [Clinton] is elected,’’ though he did not explain his concern.
Most of the exchanges are back-and-forths about the pair’s disgust with Trump. As they get closer to Election Day, they watch at least one Clinton-Trump debate, and their feelings are clear.
“Oh hot damn,’’ Strzok texted. “HRC is throwing down saying Trump in bed with russia,” then adding: “She could do SO MUCH BETTER... but she’s just not getting traction... Jesus.”
On Election Day, he texted: “OMG this is F*CKING TERRIFYING,’’ forwarding a story saying Clinton could lose, to which Page replied, “Yeah, that’s not good.’’
Days after the election, Page texted to say she bought “All the President’s Men,’’ a book about Nixon and Watergate, because “I needed to brush up on Watergate.’’