Newly released Strzok-Page text messages suggest FBI attempt to recruit spies within the incoming Trump administration

Ace reporters Sara Carter and Catherine Herridge have broken a huge story on what looks like a post-presidential election attempt to cultivate spies within the Trump administration, as discussed by the adulterous top FBI counter-espionage officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok in their text messages.

Herridge and her colleague Greg Re write:

Text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page indicate they discussed using briefings to the Trump team after the 2016 election to identify people they could "develop for potential relationships," track lines of questioning and "assess" changes in "demeanor" — language one GOP lawmaker called "more evidence" of irregular conduct in the original Russia probe.

Fox News has learned the texts, initially released in 2018 by a Senate committee, are under renewed scrutiny, with GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Homeland Security Committee chair Ron Johnson sending a letter Thursday night to Attorney General Bill Barr pushing for more information on the matter.

"Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed," the senators wrote.

President Trump, speaking to Fox News' "Hannity" Thursday night, responded to this report by unloading on Strzok and Page.

"They were trying to infiltrate the administration," Trump told Sean Hannity.  "Really, it's a coup.  It's spying.  It's hard to believe in this country we would have had that."  Trump called the news "very disconcerting," and emphasized that the Justice Department's watchdog previously faulted Strzok's communications with Page.

The text messages begin on the evening of Nov. 17 — nine days after the election.  The string discusses an email and briefing to "Pence," presumably Vice President-elect Mike Pence — and appears to refer to another upcoming briefing.

The messages showed Strzok and Page debating staffing for the upcoming briefing and whether it would make sense to stay with the same agent or send a different one.  It is unclear from the texts whether these were part of the formal transition-period briefings between outgoing and incoming administrations or routine intelligence briefings.

Sara Carter dives deeply into the messages, providing context:

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House — Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock, whose wife was working as an analyst for Strzok on the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private server.  A senior White House official told this news site that Pitcock's wife recused herself from the Clinton investigation as soon as Pence and Trump became the Republican nominees in July 2016.  A senior law enforcement official also told SaraACarter.com that Pitcock's wife no longer worked under Strzok after she recused herself from the Clinton investigation.

However, the text messages uncovered from November, 2016 and have left questions lingering about the relationship between Strzok, Pitcock and his wife among congressional investigators and lawmakers.

"The course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump's transition team," the letter states.  "In text messages exchanged between former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, the two discussed the possibility of developing "potential relationships" at a November 2016 FBI briefing for presidential transition team staff.  Specifically, it appears they discussed sending "the CI guy" to assess an unnamed person 'demeanor' but were concerned because it might be unusual for him to attend."

Sara Carter goes on to quote the texts and provide the necessary context.

A few weeks after the presidential election, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page discussed the logistics for the briefing. Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page said the following:

Strzok: Talking with Bill. Do we want Joe to go with Evanina instead of Charli for a variety of reasons?

(Strzok is referring to former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence division Bill Priestap.  'Joe is referencing FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in January, 2017.  And Evanina is in reference to William Evanina, National Counterintelligence and Security Center.)

Page: Hmm. Not sure. Would it be unusual to have [sic] show up again? Maybe another agent from the team?

Strzok: Or, he's "the CI guy." Same.might [sic] make sense. He can assess if there [sic] are any news [sic] Qs, or different demeanor. If Katie's husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships

Page: Should I ask Andy about it? Or Bill (Priestap) want to reach out for Andy (McCabe)?Strzok: I told him I'm sure we could ask you to make the swap if we thought it.

Drip, drip, drip is turning into a steady stream, and based on President Trump's interview last night with Sean Hannity, it may soon become a torrent.

Graphic: YouTube screen grab (cropped).

Ace reporters Sara Carter and Catherine Herridge have broken a huge story on what looks like a post-presidential election attempt to cultivate spies within the Trump administration, as discussed by the adulterous top FBI counter-espionage officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok in their text messages.

Herridge and her colleague Greg Re write:

Text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page indicate they discussed using briefings to the Trump team after the 2016 election to identify people they could "develop for potential relationships," track lines of questioning and "assess" changes in "demeanor" — language one GOP lawmaker called "more evidence" of irregular conduct in the original Russia probe.

Fox News has learned the texts, initially released in 2018 by a Senate committee, are under renewed scrutiny, with GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Homeland Security Committee chair Ron Johnson sending a letter Thursday night to Attorney General Bill Barr pushing for more information on the matter.

"Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed," the senators wrote.

President Trump, speaking to Fox News' "Hannity" Thursday night, responded to this report by unloading on Strzok and Page.

"They were trying to infiltrate the administration," Trump told Sean Hannity.  "Really, it's a coup.  It's spying.  It's hard to believe in this country we would have had that."  Trump called the news "very disconcerting," and emphasized that the Justice Department's watchdog previously faulted Strzok's communications with Page.

The text messages begin on the evening of Nov. 17 — nine days after the election.  The string discusses an email and briefing to "Pence," presumably Vice President-elect Mike Pence — and appears to refer to another upcoming briefing.

The messages showed Strzok and Page debating staffing for the upcoming briefing and whether it would make sense to stay with the same agent or send a different one.  It is unclear from the texts whether these were part of the formal transition-period briefings between outgoing and incoming administrations or routine intelligence briefings.

Sara Carter dives deeply into the messages, providing context:

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House — Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock, whose wife was working as an analyst for Strzok on the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private server.  A senior White House official told this news site that Pitcock's wife recused herself from the Clinton investigation as soon as Pence and Trump became the Republican nominees in July 2016.  A senior law enforcement official also told SaraACarter.com that Pitcock's wife no longer worked under Strzok after she recused herself from the Clinton investigation.

However, the text messages uncovered from November, 2016 and have left questions lingering about the relationship between Strzok, Pitcock and his wife among congressional investigators and lawmakers.

"The course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump's transition team," the letter states.  "In text messages exchanged between former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, the two discussed the possibility of developing "potential relationships" at a November 2016 FBI briefing for presidential transition team staff.  Specifically, it appears they discussed sending "the CI guy" to assess an unnamed person 'demeanor' but were concerned because it might be unusual for him to attend."

Sara Carter goes on to quote the texts and provide the necessary context.

A few weeks after the presidential election, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page discussed the logistics for the briefing. Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page said the following:

Strzok: Talking with Bill. Do we want Joe to go with Evanina instead of Charli for a variety of reasons?

(Strzok is referring to former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence division Bill Priestap.  'Joe is referencing FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in January, 2017.  And Evanina is in reference to William Evanina, National Counterintelligence and Security Center.)

Page: Hmm. Not sure. Would it be unusual to have [sic] show up again? Maybe another agent from the team?

Strzok: Or, he's "the CI guy." Same.might [sic] make sense. He can assess if there [sic] are any news [sic] Qs, or different demeanor. If Katie's husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships

Page: Should I ask Andy about it? Or Bill (Priestap) want to reach out for Andy (McCabe)?Strzok: I told him I'm sure we could ask you to make the swap if we thought it.

Drip, drip, drip is turning into a steady stream, and based on President Trump's interview last night with Sean Hannity, it may soon become a torrent.

Graphic: YouTube screen grab (cropped).