WSJ: The 'Insurance Policy' Mentioned In Those FBI Texts Referred To The Russia Investigation

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 18, 2017 7:00 PM
WSJ: The 'Insurance Policy' Mentioned In Those FBI Texts Referred To The Russia Investigation

We all had our suspicions about what FBI agent Peter Strzok meant by “insurance policy,” which he wrote in a text to bureau lawyer Lisa Page, a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. The text was one of 10,000 that were sent between these two FBI officials from August 15, 2015-December 1, 2016; this one was sent to Page in August of 2016. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to agents familiar with Strzok’s account, he was referring to the Russia investigation when he mentioned “insurance.” He was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in August once he was informed about these communications; the DOJ inspector general was looking into their texts. Strzok, who was in counter-intelligence, was part of two key FBI investigations. He was involved in the Hillary Clinton email probe and the bureau’s counterintelligence investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 election, which he signed off on making this inquiry official back in July of 2016. Hence, why eyebrows were raised over this “insurance” reference (via WSJ) [emphasis mine]:

An FBI agent’s reference to “an insurance policy” in a much-debated text message was meant to convey that the bureau needed to aggressively investigate allegations of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, according to people familiar with his account.

The agent didn’t intend to suggest a secret plan to harm the candidate but rather address a colleague who believed the Federal Bureau of Investigation could take its time because Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was certain to win the election, the people said.

The text was one of many that have recently emerged in which FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page disparaged Mr. Trump, calling him an “idiot” and “loathsome human,” among other things.

Republicans have cited the texts as evidence of bias. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote the Justice Department: “Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an ‘insurance policy’ against a Trump presidency.”

Mr. Strzok was the lead agent on the FBI investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. Until late July, he was also the top investigator in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, but Mr. Mueller removed him after learning of the texts.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General is examining the texts as part of an investigation of how the FBI and Justice Department handled the Clinton inquiry.

Few of the messages have attracted as much attention as the one sent by Mr. Strzok to Ms. Page in August 2016 mentioning an “insurance policy,” which critics have read as reflecting an intent to prevent Mr. Trump from winning.

Mr. Strzok wrote, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office—that there’s no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…”

On Twitter, Wilber expounded more on this, while adding that this doesn’t point to a deep state plot to block Donald Trump from winning. Plainly, it shows that this isn’t one of the FBI’s proudest moments, with former agents apparently appalled by Strzok’s behavior, given the nature of these texts, his position in two key investigations, and the added bonus that he was having an affair with an FBI attorney. All of this speaks to the credibility of the agency. It potentially speaks volumes about the office culture at the FBI, along with the judgment Mueller has when it comes to picking his staff. The Journal’s editorial board noted other troubling instances, like a now-demoted DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, meeting with the authors of the infamous and unverified Trump dossier. Oh, and his wife, Nellie, worked for the firm—Fusion GPS—that hired former MI6 operative Christopher Steele, who compiled the file, which was subsidized by the Hillary Clinton campaign. The publication added that evidence is mounting that the FBI possibly engaged in election meddling. We’ll see, but for now—the “insurance” referred to is the Russia investigation. Also, another thing the WSJ noted that former agents and prosecutors were flabbergasted that Page and Strzok were even texting each other about these cases. 

Yet, let’s be honest. Even if the probe was to be an aggressive review into whether the Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia colluded, and there was—in this hypothetical—evidence of collusion, you don’t think Democrats would try to refocus this inquiry upstream to ensnare Trump? Of course they would. That’s why they’ve been obsessing about it for months. To this day, there is zero evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. 

There are other instances at the FBI that are just as troubling as the texts, like former FBI Director James Comey drafting an exoneration statement for Hillary Clinton before agents had interviewed the former first lady. Oh, and Mr. Strzok editing the statement, like nixing the phrase “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” Mr. Comey was also investigated for violating the Hatch Act, a law that bars federal employees within the executive from engaging in most political activities. His top aides, FBI chief of staff James Rybicki and FBI attorney Trisha Anderson were interviewed, but the FBI has refused to turn over the transcripts. Even without the deep state drama, we already have conduct that some in the FBI were injecting their political biases into the investigations. Hence, the reason why the National Review wants someone to scrutinize the FBI’s conduct in the execution of their investigations into the Clinton email probe and possible Russian collusion. Why? Because it’s night and day:

Everything that has happened in the Trump probe stands out against a backdrop of leniency in the Clinton investigation. While Mueller has prosecuted two Trump associates for lying to the FBI, the Obama Justice Department gave a pass to Mrs. Clinton and her subordinates, who gave the FBI misinformation about such key matters as whether Clinton understood markings in classified documents and whether her aides knew about her homebrew server system during their State Department service. Mueller’s team conducted a predawn raid at gunpoint in executing a search warrant on Paul Manafort’s home while Manafort was cooperating with congressional committees. When it came to the Clinton case, though, the Justice Department not only eschewed search warrants, or even mere subpoenas, but they never even took possession of the DNC server alleged to have been hacked by Russian operatives.

We need some answers. I won’t speculate on the more Parallax View aspects of these texts. Surely, the leaks from the intelligence community were unacceptable and some folks in that field thought it would be best to try and hamstring this administration. We’ll have to see what happens next regarding the texts and the FBI. There are surely some troubling activities here, deep state or not. 

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