Lisa Page told Congress FBI had no proof of collusion when Mueller appointed

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told Congress earlier this summer that at the time Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, the FBI had no proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

This was more than nine months after the FBI had opened an investigation into possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Page was testifying before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees in mid-July as part of a joint congressional investigation into the Clinton email scandal.  The transcript of Page's deposition has just been released.

Fox News:

Page was responding to Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, who wanted more information about a May 2017 text where Page, and her then colleague and lover FBI agent Peter Strzok discussed the merits of joining Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Page sat for the transcribed interview before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in mid-July as part of a joint congressional investigation into the Justice Department's handling of the Russia and Clinton email probes.

According to the transcript, Page stopped mid-answer.  "...sorry.  Can I consult with counsel?  I'm sorry.  I need to consult with FBI counsel for a moment."

Sections of the transcript reviewed by Fox show Ratcliffe pursued the line of questioning at least three more times, and Page provided varying answers.

"I cannot provide the specifics of a confidential interview," Ratcliffe told Fox News when asked for comment.  "But I can say that Lisa Page left me with the impression, based on her own words, that the lead investigator of the Russian collusion case, Peter Strzok, had found no evidence of collusion after nearly a year."

Page was Strzok's mistress, and the two had exchanged dozens of emails that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt their loathing of Donald Trump. 

The May 18, 2017, text was highlighted by Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz in his recent report about the handling of the Clinton email probe by the FBI and the Justice Department.  The day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's appointment to the Russia probe on May 17, Strzok and Page discussed whether Strzok should join Mueller's team.

"Who gives a f‑‑‑, one more A(ssistant) D(irector)...(versus) (a)n investigation leading to impeachment?" Strzok texted on May 18, according to the IG report.  Strzok later continues, "...you and I both know the odds are nothing.  If I thought it was likely I'd be there no question.  I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there." (emphasis mine)

Strzok's "gut sense" that there was no collusion and of the FBI's failure to find any evidence of such is not a surprise.  The surprise is that Page admitted it.  Of course, by this time, Mueller has moved beyond collusion and is now almost certainly looking at obstruction of justice by the president in any number of instances.  If Mueller had found anything remotely interesting on collusion, it would have leaked already.

Both Page and Strzok worked hard to find something – anything – to tie Trump and his campaign to the Russians.  That they were obviously disappointed in the results of the investigation says a lot about how this inquiry began and the partisanship of the major players.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told Congress earlier this summer that at the time Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, the FBI had no proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

This was more than nine months after the FBI had opened an investigation into possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Page was testifying before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees in mid-July as part of a joint congressional investigation into the Clinton email scandal.  The transcript of Page's deposition has just been released.

Fox News:

Page was responding to Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, who wanted more information about a May 2017 text where Page, and her then colleague and lover FBI agent Peter Strzok discussed the merits of joining Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Page sat for the transcribed interview before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in mid-July as part of a joint congressional investigation into the Justice Department's handling of the Russia and Clinton email probes.

According to the transcript, Page stopped mid-answer.  "...sorry.  Can I consult with counsel?  I'm sorry.  I need to consult with FBI counsel for a moment."

Sections of the transcript reviewed by Fox show Ratcliffe pursued the line of questioning at least three more times, and Page provided varying answers.

"I cannot provide the specifics of a confidential interview," Ratcliffe told Fox News when asked for comment.  "But I can say that Lisa Page left me with the impression, based on her own words, that the lead investigator of the Russian collusion case, Peter Strzok, had found no evidence of collusion after nearly a year."

Page was Strzok's mistress, and the two had exchanged dozens of emails that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt their loathing of Donald Trump. 

The May 18, 2017, text was highlighted by Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz in his recent report about the handling of the Clinton email probe by the FBI and the Justice Department.  The day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's appointment to the Russia probe on May 17, Strzok and Page discussed whether Strzok should join Mueller's team.

"Who gives a f‑‑‑, one more A(ssistant) D(irector)...(versus) (a)n investigation leading to impeachment?" Strzok texted on May 18, according to the IG report.  Strzok later continues, "...you and I both know the odds are nothing.  If I thought it was likely I'd be there no question.  I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there." (emphasis mine)

Strzok's "gut sense" that there was no collusion and of the FBI's failure to find any evidence of such is not a surprise.  The surprise is that Page admitted it.  Of course, by this time, Mueller has moved beyond collusion and is now almost certainly looking at obstruction of justice by the president in any number of instances.  If Mueller had found anything remotely interesting on collusion, it would have leaked already.

Both Page and Strzok worked hard to find something – anything – to tie Trump and his campaign to the Russians.  That they were obviously disappointed in the results of the investigation says a lot about how this inquiry began and the partisanship of the major players.