Last Friday, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who was having an extramarital affair with FBI Agent Peter Strzok, testified behind closed-doors in what was another reported grilling. Strzok also testified for hours before Congress in a hearing that was dotted with hostility, Democratic obstruction, and straight-up rewriting of history. Strzok tried to say that the texts that showed evidence of bias were in fact, not biased. Oh, and this was done out of extreme patriotism, or something. Now, did they impact the Clinton email probe concerning desired outcomes or whether this probe was conducted in a manner that could impact the 2016 election? No, the Department of Justice inspector general said that was not the case. That’s very different than saying no bias was ever exhibited, however. This is a joint House Judiciary and Oversight Committee investigation.
Strzok and Page sent tens of thousands of texts on their government phones, which were explicitly anti-Trump. Strzok was also reportedly not just one of the point persons in the Clinton email investigation, but also the counterintelligence probe into whether the Kremlin colluded with the Trump campaign in July of 2016. That’s now in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s court. Strzok was a top counterintelligence agent with the bureau until the texts were made known to Mueller, who removed him from the Russia probe in August of 2017; Strzok was reassigned to human resources. He still maintains his security clearance.
Rep. Ratcliffe says Lisa PAGE answered many questions Strzok didn’t and that lawmakers learned a lot of new information. He declined to provide any other details.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 13, 2018
Rep. Gaetz says the questions Lisa Page answered — but Strzok would not — heighten his concern about whether the FBI was driving toward a “desired outcome” in its Russia probe.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 13, 2018
He said FBI counsel was still there and at times intervened to prevent her from answering.
Rep. MEADOWS says Page was able to answer more than Strzok because the FBI counsel was less intrusive and seemed more permissive.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 13, 2018
Republicans seem far more pleased with her testimony than Strzok’s. Meadows/Gaetz/Ratcliffe all say they learned good new info.
All three, though, declined to say whether her testimony was consistent with Strzok’s. They got *new* info but not necessarily inconsistent testimony.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 13, 2018
Yet, whereas Strzok refused to answer questions from House Republicans, Page was more cooperative, offered more information, but also heightened the concern of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that the FBI desired an outcome in the Russia probe. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) also said that Page was credible and “doing her best” to help Congress get to the bottom of the FBI/DOJ’s fiasco that’s engulfed the agencies for months. That being said, it’s being reported that the new information she offered does not mean she contradicted Mr. Strzok’s limited answers last week, though that’s coming from Democrats (via Fox News):
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., had been among Page’s harshest critics heading into the session, but he said her cooperation “speaks well of her,” according to the Hill.
Meadows said he thinks the American people “would be happy” with Friday’s transcribed interviews, the Washington Post reported.
“She’s been willing to help in the spirit of transparency. … We’ve certainly learned additional things today,” Meadows said.
Page, who defied a subpoena Wednesday, would have been held in contempt of Congress had she not appeared at Friday's session, lawmakers said.
In the private testimony, she primarily answered questions about text messages with Peter Strzok that allegedly showed bias against then-candidate Donald Trump, the New York Post reported.
A Democratic congressional source told the Hill that two hours into the interview, Page did not appear to have contradicted Strzok's testimony in any way.
Remarkably, we learned new information today suggesting the DOJ had not notified Lisa Page of Congress' outstanding interview requests for over 7 months now. The DOJ/FBI appear to be continuing their efforts to keep material facts, and perhaps even witnesses, from Congress.— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) July 13, 2018
Meadows: Lisa Page is a very credible witness..she’s doing her best to help us find the truth and I think in ways she’snbeen falsely accused of not being willing to cooperate. We've learned.. evidence..that would suggest that she’s been willing to help in a spirit of transparency— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 14, 2018
More from The Hill, which includes Mr. Gaetz’s quote about desired outcomes in the Russia investigation:
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page on Friday afternoon faced a grilling from House Republicans keen to uncover any discrepancies between her testimony and Peter Strzok’s, the counterintelligence agent who testified in public for 10 hours the day before.
Where the marathon Strzok hearing was a pageant display of the animosity and deeply divided politics surrounding the bureau, Page’s closed-door deposition led to few fireworks.
“The specific questions that Lisa Page answered that Peter Strzok did not heightened my concern that the processes at the FBI were contrived to fit the desired outcomes of people who were biased in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump,” Gaetz said.
These two and their ilk at the FBI/DOJ have made a mess of the institution and generated one of the most embarrassing chapters in its history. Have they apologized yet? Why is Strzok still an employee? What does he do all day at the human resources division at the FBI? Why does he still have his security clearance? It’s madness. We’ll see what new developments arise from the transcripts if they’re released. Until then, the House GOP will rightfully ask questions about this whole fiasco, while Democrats incorrectly cite the DOJ IG report as if it absolves the FBI of any allegation lobbed against it. And around and around we go.