- A former member of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team heavily criticised the Russian government in texts exchanged with a colleague.
- The official, Peter Strzok, called the Russians “f—ing conniving cheating savages” in a text message exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
- Strzok played critical roles in the FBI’s investigations into the Trump campaigns dealings with Russia and Hillary Clinton’s private email use as secretary of state.
Newly revealed text messages exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page revealed their reactions to work-related developments at the FBI, President Donald Trump’s ascendance, and the depths of their personal relationship,The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
“F–k the cheating motherf—ing Russians,” Strzok said in a text to Page in July 2016. “Bastards. I hate them.”
“I think they’re probably the worst,” Strzok continued. “F—ing conniving cheating savages. At statecraft, athletics, you name it. I’m glad I’m on Team USA.”
The texts, which span from August 2015 to June 2017, were part of a tranche of messages the Department of Justice handed over to Congress on January 19. Republican lawmakers had requested the texts as part of their investigation into whether the FBI mishandled its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email use as secretary of state.
Last summer, Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, removed Strzok from his team after discovering text messages in which Strzok and Page disparaged President Donald Trump.
“OMG I am so depressed,” Page said to Strzok after Trump’s election victory. “I don’t know if I can eat. I am very nauseous.”
Strzok and Page were engaged in an extramarital affair at the time, reports have said. The texts obtained by the Journal showed that their relationship seemed to sour sometime last June, when Page told Strzok to never text her again following discussions about their futures at the FBI.
The texts also reveal that Strzok was hesitant to accept a job on Mueller’s investigative team, the Journal said.
“I don’t know what I want, Lisa,” Strzok said, referring to a potential role as a top investigator in the Russia probe. “I don’t want to be anything but the lead agent. And I think even that is going to be a far cry from the inner sanctum of what Bob [Mueller] decides.”
Strzok’s involvement in the Clinton email probe
On Wednesday, CNN reported that Strzok, who played a role in ending in July 2016 the FBI’s initial investigation into Clinton’s private email use, also helped relaunch that investigation three months later.
CNN said Strzok cowrote the first draft of the letter that former FBI Director James Comey disclosed to the public in October 2016. It announced that the FBI had recovered thousands of Clinton’s emails and, as a result, would relaunch the probe into the then-Democratic presidential nominee.
Democrats, including Clinton, criticised Comey at the time for disclosing the letter so close to the election, arguing that it helped tilt the vote in Trump’s favour.
Strzok is also mentioned in the controversial GOP memo Trump declassified and released on Friday. The memo describes Strzok as demonstrating “a clear bias against Trump and in favour of Clinton.”
That assessment appears to stem from texts obtained by The New York Times, in which Strzok called Trump a “douche.”
In reference to the prospect of a Trump presidency, Strzok was blunt: “I’m scared for our organisation.”
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