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    White House to Declassify Text Messages of Key Russiagate Players

    © Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova
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    US President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Justice, including the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), to declassify a number of materials related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant issued against his campaign's former foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

    "For reasons of transparency, the President has directed the [ODNI] and the [DOJ] (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications," a statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reads. 

    Carter Page, an American citizen, was initially surveiled through wire tapping under FISA in October 2016 after a US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge ruled there was probable cause that he was acting as an foreign agent on behalf of the Russian government. The spying order against Carter Page was reissued on three occasions. The warrant was issued in connection to the counter-intelligence probe headed by fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, which was kicked off in July 2016.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller took over Strzok's probe in May 2017 with the mandate of investigating "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the [Trump] campaign," as well as "any other matters [that] arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

    Bruce Ohr is a 30-year veteran of the DOJ and knew Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Steele Dossier, for many years. Ohr passed information from Steele to the FBI, a responsibility outside of his purview at the DOJ, and made at least four phone calls with him in 2016. Ohr's wife, Nellie, was a contractor for Fusion GPS, the company paid by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign to contract Steele to gather the material contained in the dossier. Steele was also briefly paid by the FBI before he was sacked for disclosing information to the media.

    "How the hell is Bruce Ohr still employed at the Justice Department? Disgraceful! Witch Hunt!" Trump tweeted August 29. 

    The Monday statement from the White House also ordered the DOJ and FBI to "publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr." Lisa Page and Carter Page, it should be noted, have no relation to one another.

    A number of text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, have been released with redaction by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) in connection with the OIG report entitled "A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election," which itself did not focus on messages pertaining to the Russia investigation but to the appearance of bias against Trump by the agents working on the case. Strzok at the time was the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, the second-highest ranking official on the team. Strzok was removed from Mueller's team after his messages to Lisa Page came to light and later fired from the FBI entirely. Lisa Page was then the special counsel to the deputy director of the FBI.

    The pair also discussed taking out an "insurance policy" against a Trump presidency with then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired in March 2018, in his office, Sputnik News reported. "I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [McCabe's] office — that there's no way he gets elected — but l'm afraid we can't take that risk. lt's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40," Strzok texted Lisa Page in mid-August 2016.

    The message that has gotten the most attention was Strzok’s response to Lisa Page when asked whether Trump would ever be president, sent just a little more than a week after Strzok started the counterintelligence collusion probe. "No. No he won't. We'll stop it,” he said.

    Days prior, Lisa Page told Strzok that he was “meant to protect the country from that menace [Trump].”

    “I can protect our country at many levels,” he assured her.

    But despite Strzok's desire to protect the country, he was apparently hesitant to do with with the special counsel team. He told Lisa Page around the time he was being recruited by Mueller that when it came to the Russia case, he thought there was really "no big there there."

    When Lisa Page testified in front of Congress behind closed doors over the summer, she reportedly told them, "It still existed in the scope of possibility that there might be literally nothing." 

    In June, Trump tweeted "The IG Report totally destroys James Comey and all of his minions including the great lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who started the disgraceful Witch Hunt against so many innocent people. It will go down as a dark and dangerous period in American History!"

    Comey was dismissed as head of the FBI by Trump in May 2017.

    Tags:
    Russian collusion, alleged collusion, alleged Russian meddling, Russiagate, Donald Trump, US Office of the Director of National Intellidence (ODNI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice, Bruce Ohr, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Christopher Steele, Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Robert Mueller, Donald Trump
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