The FBI scandal is far, far, far from over. In fact, it’s growing and sprouting new legs as I write this. More is coming out on the scandal and it reveals corruption that is simply breathtaking in scope.
New documents that Congress has just received raise “grave concerns” over an “apparent systemic culture of media leaking” among high-level FBI and Justice Department officials to release information damaging to President Trump. This is according to a top Republican congressman who made the charges in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) didn’t hold back in his letter. He pointed to several text message exchanges in April of 2017 between now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page. They were allegedly discussing the bureau’s “media leak strategy.”
Meadows sent an updated version of his letter to Rosenstein yesterday. It contains similar language but it changes the timing of at least one of the exchanges.
“I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go,” Strzok texted Page on April 10, 2017. Meadows cited newly produced documents from the Justice Department to present his case on this exchange and others.
At first, Meadows said the next exchange occurred on April 12, but revised it to April 22 in his updated letter. Strzok wrote, “article is out! Well done, Page.”
Meadows’ letter also includes a comment from Strzok to Page on April 12, in which Strzok suggests an article about Page’s “namesake” would soon be released. That allegedly was a reference to Carter Page, the former Trump adviser whom the FBI surveilled for months after obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
Both the FBI and DOJ are mum on this. But Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, tried to spin it saying the “media leak strategy” in the text referred to efforts to stop leaks. Sure it did. Right. “The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media,” he said in a statement.
From Fox News:
“On April 11, 2017, the Washington Post published a story titled, “FBI obtained a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page. The article, citing “law enforcement and other U.S. officials,” reported that the DOJ and FBI had convinced a FISA judge there was “probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case, Russia.”
“The text message exchanges “should lead a reasonable person to question whether there was a sincere desire to investigate wrongdoing or to place derogatory information in the media to justify a continued probe,” Meadows, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, wrote.
“Page has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Heavily redacted documents have since shown that a dossier written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign played a key role in obtaining the FISA warrant to surveil him beginning in October 2016.”
As you will recall, Stzok was one of the leading investigators in both the Hillary Clinton and Russia probes. He was fired in August after a whole bunch of anti-Trump messages surfaced. That included one that said “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president.
Documents have also shown that the FBI inaccurately reassured the FISA court on several occasions that a Yahoo News article provided an independent basis to place surveillance on Page, when in fact it also relied on Steele as its source. It looks fake and rigged to me all the way around.
Meadows is correct when he stated that the Post’s reporting “[set] off a flurry of articles suggesting connections between President Trump and Russia.” It was meant to in my opinion. This is what I call weaponizing the media. They were used to go after Trump on the fake Russian collusion issue.
The Washington Post wasn’t the only news outlet that leaked either. FBI and DOJ officials, including DOJ prosecutor and top Robert Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann, met with several Associated Press reporters in April of 2017, according to court filings in the Virginia federal trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Looks like going after Manafort is uncovering some dirty laundry here and it’s not his. There is “troubling evidence” that the FBI and DOJ continue to coordinate leaks to the media, Meadows stated. There’s a whole lot of that evidence. While those disclosures may not be unauthorized, he added, they still compromise the appearance of impartiality at the bureau. Yes, they do.
It is being widely reported today and Fox News has it too, that President Trump is getting ready to agree to a longstanding request by the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees to declassify more documents used to justify Page’s surveillance, as well as activities by embattled DOJ attorney Bruce Ohr. That’s probably going to open a nasty can of political worms.
Ohr is strongly tied to the Steele dossier. A Republican-authored House Intelligence Committee memo released in February said that Steele “maintained contact” with Ohr “before and after” the government fired the British ex-spy as a source. His wife is also embroiled in all this.
It’s being alleged by Republicans that the FBI failed to disclose to the FISA court not only the funding sources for Steele dossier but also Ohr’s involvement and the fact that his wife, Nellie, had worked on Russia issues for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the dossier.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive. And it looks like a whole bunch of Democrats (including Hillary Clinton), the FBI and the DOJ are getting caught in this particular web.