- Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page is suing the FBI and Justice Department for releasing texts where she explicitly criticised Donald Trump.
- In December 2017, the FBI showed a 90-page document to US reporters containing 375 texts between Page and senior FBI agent Peter Strzok, with whom Page was having an affair.
- Page and Strzok were fired from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after the text messages emerged.
- In a case, filed at a court in the District of Columbia on Tuesday,Page claimed the FBI violated the Privacy Act by showing the texts to members of the media.
- The FBI told Business Insider it could not comment on pending litigation.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page is suing the FBI and the Justice Department for releasing texts critical of Donald Trump that she sent to a colleague, which saw her fired from the Mueller inquiry.
In December 2017, the FBI showed a 90-page document to US reporters containing 375 texts between Page and senior FBI agent Peter Strzok, with whom Page was having an affair.
In a complaint filed at the US district court in Columbia on Tuesday, Page claimed the FBI violated the Privacy Act by releasing the texts.
“This clandestine approach is inconsistent with the disclosure of agency records for transparency purposes or to advance the public interest,” the complaint says.
In a tweet sent Tuesday, Page said she is taking “little joy” in suing the government agencies, but called their actions “illegal.”
I sued the Department of Justice and FBI today.
I take little joy in having done so. But what they did in leaking my messages to the press was not only wrong, it was illegal.https://t.co/ecR58rmxlB
— Lisa Page (@NatSecLisa) December 10, 2019
An FBI spokeswoman told Business Insider it could not comment on pending litigation.
Page and Strzok were dismissed from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after the text messages emerged in which they showed anti-Trump bias.
The messages were discovered as part of an inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation by the Justice Department’s office of the Inspector General, and were shared with news reporters.
The messages included:
- “This man cannot be president,” Page said in 2016.
- “I’m scared for our organisation,” Strzok said of a Trump presidency.
- Hillary Clinton “just has to win now,” Page said. “I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.”
Since that time, Trump has name checked Page in 40 tweets and dozens of interviews, Page’s complaint read. Trump’s tweets, it says, have served in “fuelling unwanted media attention that has radically altered her day-to-day life.”
Page broke her near two-year silence over her dismissal on December 1 in an interview with The Daily Beast.
“The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening,” she said in the interview.
Page said she decided to speak out after Trump mocked her and Strzok at a rally in Minneapolis on October 10.
In a “truly reprehensible, degrading stunt at his rally,” Trump “used my name to simulate an orgasm,” she said, describing it as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative,” she said. “I decided to take my power back.”
After Page spoke out, Trump lambasted her again on Twitter.
“When Lisa Page, the lover of Peter Strzok, talks about being ‘crushed’, and how innocent she is, ask her to read Peter’s ‘Insurance Policy’ text, to her, just in case Hillary loses,” Trump tweeted.
“Also, why were the lovers text messages scrubbed after he left Mueller. Where are they Lisa?”
In August 2019, Strzok sued the Justice Department and the FBI for firing him, alleging the move was politically motivated and a violation of his constitutional rights.
“The campaign to publicly vilify Special Agent Strzok contributed to the FBI’s ultimate decision to unlawfully terminate him, as well as to frequent incidents of public and online harassment and threats of violence to Strzok and his family that began when the texts were first disclosed to the media and continue to this day,” the suit alleged.