Newly released Strzok-Page texts suggest a sneaky cabal
More evidence was released yesterday indicating that the CIA, the FBI, the Obama White House, and congressional Democrats were communicating about a possible charge of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign three months before the November 2016 presidential election.
There is nothing close to a smoking gun here, I am afraid. Nonetheless, the new Strzok-Page text messages released yesterday – more than 49,000 of their texts remain to be released – suggest that, contrary to Obama administration claims, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was a participant in the launching of an FBI counterintelligence investigation into allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Other members of what could be a cabal include then-Senate minority leader Harry Reid; CIA chief John Brennan; and FBI officials, including Director James Comey and members of Andrew McCabe's counterintelligence division.
Early in August 2016, the two lovebirds showed a lot of concern over managing the information, keeping it from the wrong eyes, including the public's.
Brooke Singman of Fox News reports:
Page texted Strzok on Aug. 2, 2016, saying: "Make sure you can lawfully protect what you sign. Just thinking about congress, foia, etc. You probably know better than me."
A text message from Strzok to Page on Aug. 3 described former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as being concerned with "information control" related to the initial investigation into the Trump campaign. According to a report from the New York Times, Brennan was sent to Capitol Hill around the same time to brief members of Congress on the possibility of election interference.
Days later, on Aug. 8, 2016, Strzok texted Page: "Internal joint cyber cd intel piece for D, scenesetter for McDonough brief, Trainor [head of FBI cyber division] directed all cyber info be pulled. I'd let Bill and Jim hammer it out first, though it would be best for D to have it before the Wed WH session."
In the texts, "D" referred to FBI Director James Comey, and and "McDonough" referred to Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the GOP investigators said.
So we have the CIA and FBI, supposedly independent agencies, involved, along with the Obama White House.
Sara Carter reports:
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was deeply troubled by the findings.
"We've been asking for documents with little cooperation of the DOJ and FBI – we're having to find these unreacted [sic] documents on our own," said Meadows, who's also chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. "It appears there was a coordination between the White House, CIA, and FBI at the onset of this investigation and it's troubling."
Meadows said a meeting that John Moffa, who was part of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, meets with Denis McDonough on August 10, (2016)," Meadows added. "What we're finding is the more we dig the more we realize that there appeared to be a willful coordination between multiple groups outside the Department of Justice and FBI. Moffa was also the FBI agent who helped draft Comey's July 5, 2016, exoneration letter to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.
Meadows said the documents suggest Reid's briefing from Brennan "was used in Michael Isikoff's Yahoo News story."
Recall that Isikoff's story, based on a briefing on the Steele dossier from Fusion GPS, was used to "corroborate" that very document and obtain a FISA Court warrant to wiretap the Trump campaign.
Given the glacial pace of FBI document production in response to congressional subpoenas, we have to take these nuggets as suggestive, not conclusive. FBI director Wray has promised to double the pace of that production. My own suspicion is that there is a lot more evidence to come, awaiting the report of the DOJ's inspector general, and possible criminal referrals.