On Friday, John Solomon of The Hill reported that memos from the FBI regarding the Trump-Russia investigation contain another damning text from FBI agent Peter Strzok, the man in charge of both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia collusion investigation during the 2016 campaign. According to Solomon:
Memos the FBI is now producing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general and multiple Senate and House committees offer what sources involved in the production, review or investigation describe to me as “damning” or “troubling” evidence. They show Strzok and his counterintelligence team rushing in the fall of 2016 to find “derogatory” information from informants or a “pretext” to accelerate the probe and get a surveillance warrant on figures tied to the future president. … In one email exchange with the subject line “Crossfire FISA,” Strzok and Lisa Page discussed talking points to get then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to persuade a high-ranking DOJ official to sign off on [Carter Page FISA] warrant. …“At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Page on Oct. 14, 2016, less than four weeks before Election Day.
Republicans have accused the FBI of trumping up a FISA warrant to target Carter Page in order to uncover supposed collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. These exchanges won’t help the FBI’s case.
We do know that Strzok is already suspected of political bias for solid reasons: Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice Inspector General, stated in his report on the Hillary email investigation that Strzok’s politics had likely affected his decisionmaking about timing in the Hillary and Trump-Russia investigation. Here’s the report:
In assessing the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop, we were particularly concerned about text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions they made were impacted by bias or improper considerations. Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, and the implication in some of these text messages, particularly Strzok’s August 8 text message (“we’ll stop” candidate Trump from being elected), was that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects. Under these circumstances, we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.
If Solomon’s reporting is correct, it looks like Strzok decided to prioritize the Trump investigation out of political bias, with the election looming; he may have even attempted to create a “pretext” for submitting a FISA warrant request on Carter Page in order to dig up material on the Trump campaign. If so, Republicans’ long-harbored suspicions about an Obama FBI out to get Trump isn’t so far-fetched after all.