Peter Strzok, former head of counterintelligence at the FBI, texted FBI attorney Lisa Page on April 10, 2017: "I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go." On April 11, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell story revealing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had issued a secret order to the FBI to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
"The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page's communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials," Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous wrote in the Post article.
The newest batch of texts was obtained by North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, Business Insider reports.
Meadows wrote in a September 10 letter that Strzok also congratulated Page for two articles appearing in the press that painted a gloomy picture of Trump's ties to Russia vis-à-vis Carter Page.
"April 12, 2017: Peter Strzok congratulates Lisa Page on a job well done while referring to two derogatory articles about Carter Page. In the text, Strzok warns Page two articles are coming out, one which is ‘worse' than the other about Lisa's ‘namesake.' Strzok added: ‘Well done, Page.'"
An article in the New York Times appearing April 12, 2017, cites one anonymous government official supporting its lead that the DOJ obtained approval to wiretap Page "based on evidence that he was operating as a Russian agent."
It has now become much clearer who might have been behind these scoops.
The FISA application to spy on Page was supported by the dossier compiled by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, who was getting paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Trump. A dirty, unverified political document used to make a political rival look bad is not the craziest thing that has ever happened in Washington politics.
But using a bought political product as evidence presented to a judge to spy on another American is unprecedented. Sure enough, Page has not been indicted for any wrongdoing, while former FBI Director James Comey, Strzok and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe have all been dismissed from the nation's most elite law enforcement agency.
"These additional documents, with an emphasis on communication between the aforementioned individuals and Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr and Andrew Weissman, would provide critical insight into the backdrop of the Russia investigation," Rep. Meadows said.
Strzok, who wrote the order to start the Russia investigation in July 2016 and served as point person for that probe, was fired earlier this year after he was alleged to have abused his powers as a law enforcement agent to try to meddle in the outcome of the 2016 presidential race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. "We'll stop it," Strzok said in a now-infamous text to Page on August 16, 2016. Strzok later testified to Congress that he was referring to Trump's candidacy for president.