Congressional investigators have received a trove of new communications between embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok and his counterintelligence team which reveal "troubling" evidence that the FBI was rushing at breakneck speed to dig up any possible dirt on the Trump campaign, reports The Hill's John Solomon, after the communications were described to him.
Memos the FBI is now producing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general and multiple Senate and House committees offer what sources involved in the production, review or investigation describe to me as “damning” or “troubling” evidence.
They 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 Hill
One of the FBI's targets, of course, was Trump campaign aide Carter Page - an energy consultant from New York who briefly volunteered as a foreign policy adviser for the GOP nominee's campaign, and who visited Moscow the summer prior to the election.
The new batch of messages reveal Strzok, his reported lover, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, and others on the counterintelligence team monitoring news articles in September 2016 which revealed that the FBI was probing Page's Moscow trip.
Said news articles prompted Page to send a letter to then-FBI director James Comey to complain about the "completely false leak," which Strzok and Page then seized on as a "pretext" to sink their hooks into the Trump adviser.
“At a minimum, the letter provides us a pretext to interview,” Strzok wrote to Lisa Page on Sept. 26, 2016.
Within weeks, that “pretext” — often a synonym for an excuse — had been upsized to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant, giving the FBI the ability to use some of its most awesome powers to monitor Carter Page and his activities.
To date, the former Trump adviser has been accused of no wrongdoing despite being subjected to nearly a year of surveillance. -The Hill
More internal FBI memos shed light on the frustrations Strzok shared with Page over the Department of Justice (DOJ)'s slow response time. In one email exchange with the subject line "Crossfire FISA," Strzok and Page strategized on the best way to get former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to convince a high-ranking DOJ official to sign off on the FISA warrant to spy on Page.
“At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Lisa Page on Oct. 14, 2016, less than four weeks before Election Day.
Four days later the same team was emailing about rushing to get approval for another FISA warrant for another Russia-related investigation code-named “Dragon.”
“Still an expedite?” one of the emails beckoned, as...