Kirsters Baish| Congress has been provided with new documents that have brought about “grave concerns” regarding an “apparent systemic culture of media leaking” amongst higher-ups within both the FBI and the DOJ in order to release information that would hurt Donald Trump’s reputation, as claimed by a Republican congressman in a letter penned to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this past Monday.
Republican Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina wrote the letter in which he pointed to two specific text messages that were exchanged between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and his colleague/mistress former FBI attorney Lisa Page. In the two messages, the couple spoke about the FBI’s “media leak strategy.”
“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 wrote in a text to Page on April 10, 2017, according to Representative Meadows. Meadows mentioned documents that had just been released from the DOJ.
Two days after the text was sent, Strzok wrote to Page, “Well done, Page.” He also told her that there would be two negative articles about Page’s “namesake” coming out soon. He was apparently talking about former Trump adviser Carter Page. The FBI had been spying on Page for months after getting a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant.
Both the DOJ and the FBI declined to speak on the matter. Fox News attempted to get in contact with Strzok and Page’s lawyers, however they did not immediately respond.
The Washington Post published a piece titled, “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page” on April 11, 2017. The piece cited “law enforcement and other U.S. officials,” who reported that both the DOJ and FBI had gotten a FISA judge to believe that there was “probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia.”
The text messages between Page and Strzok “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 is a part of the House Oversight Committee, stated.
Fox News writes:
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.
Strzok, who was a leading investigator in both the Hillary Clinton and Russia probes, was fired in August after the DOJ inspector general excoriated him for a slew of anti-Trump text messages he sent on his FBI-issued phone, including one in which he said “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president.
Documents also have shown that the FBI inaccurately reassured the FISA court on several instances that a Yahoo News article provided independent basis to surveil Page, when in fact it also relied on Steele as its source.
Meadows stated in the letter that the Washington Post’s reporting “[set] off a flurry of articles suggesting connections between President Trump and Russia.”
Meadows also wrote that there were more outlets who received leaks beyond the Post. Court filings from the Manafort trial show that DOJ and FBI officials met with reporters from the Associated Press in April of last year. Among these officials were Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann.
The media leaks went on after FBI attorneys told Congress that witnesses were not able to answer questions regarding pending probes, citing the U.S. Attorney’s Manual.
Meadows explained that it is “troubling evidence” that the bureaus keep on leaking to the media. He finished off by asking for written communications from DOJ and FBI officials. Among those officials are Stu Evans, Mike Kortan and Joe Pientka, from June 2016 to June 2017. Meadows emphasized that they were not necessarily guilty of doing anything wrong.
They thought she would win. She thought we would never know.