On Friday, one day after marathon testimony from FBI agent Peter Strzok, attorney Lisa Page testified to House members in a closed session. Page is no longer with the FBI, but on Friday the powerful federal agency, formerly headed by Robert Mueller, James Comey, and now by Christopher Wray, was telling the independent woman when to keep her mouth shut.
“Lisa Page is not an FBI employee,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, told reporters, “but the FBI was here providing counsel and giving her direction as to which questions to answer or not answer and there is a question as to the propriety of that before the House.” Gaetz did not reveal which questions the FBI attorneys instructed Page not to answer, nor how many times the FBI had slapped on the gag order. Gaetz did say “I didn’t agree with her characterization of every text message and every piece of evidence. But we did not see the smug attitude from Lisa Page that we saw from Peter Strzok.”
Other House members found Page “cooperative” and “credible.” Rep. Mark Meadows, a tough critic of her boyfriend, told the media “she’s been willing to help in the spirit of transparency.”
Meadows told reporters “there is new information,” that it was “credible,” and that in his view, “She’s doing her best to help us find the truth and I think in ways she’s been falsely accused of not being willing to cooperate.”
Exactly what new information the members of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees got from Page did not emerge, and she answered no questions from reporters. On the other hand, Page was already on record with hateful comments about candidate Trump who is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Like millions of others, Page was wrong about that, and on Friday she had a tough act to follow.
“Today’s hearing,” Strzok said in his opening statement Friday, “is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart. As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.” The FBI man, who still has his gun, badge and security clearance, thus gave away the game up front. But as Strzok testified in the hearing, in 2016 the FBI counterintelligence boss was not much concerned with Russia in general and Putin in particular.
His text to Page, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it” was a reference to Donald Trump. Strzok told Rep. Trey Gowdy that was written late at night, “in shorthand” and “in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero,” Humayun Khan. Gowdy told Strzok “you were speaking on behalf of the American people.”
California Rep. Darrell Issa had Strzok read his own texts to Page including “Hi, how was Trump other than a douche?” and “I can’t pull away. What the fuck happened to our country, Lis?” Strzok had also texted: “Fuck Trump,” “Trump is a disaster,” “I could SMELL the Trump support,” and that Trump supporters were “ignorant hillbillies.”
Hillary Clinton would win “100 million to zero” and before the hearing Strzok said “Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath, not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took.”
The FBI man did reveal that he knew Bruce Ohr, the reassigned DOJ official whose Russophile wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS. FBI attorneys let Strzok say that the FBI, not Strzok, received documents from Bruce Ohr but Strzok failed to identify the documents. Rep. Ron DeSantis asked Strzok when he knew the dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee. The FBI would not allow him to answer, and mysteries remained.
Nobody in Congress or the media was asking who, exactly, in the FBI was telling Strzok and Page not to answer certain questions. And despite evidence, some areas of inquiry remained mysteriously unexplored. For example, who approached Peter Strzok, Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, and assigned him to run the “Midyear Exam,” code for the Clinton email investigation?
In a September, 2016, text to Lisa Page, Strzok wrote that President Obama “wants to know everything we’re doing.” So it makes sense that POTUS 44 tasked Strzok to clear Clinton and then lean on Trump. The previous president certainly had the motive, means and opportunity. As worshipful partisans of Hillary Clinton and sulfuric haters of Donald Trump, Strzok and Page were certainly qualified.
As it happens, Lisa Page is slated to testify in another closed session on Monday. The representatives should ask her who in the FBI or DOJ handed down the gag order. That done, ask Lisa Page who tapped her and boyfriend Strzok for the Midyear Exam.
As Michael Corleone said to Carlo, “Who approached you?” And don’t tell the people you are innocent of clearing Clinton, framing Trump and lying about it. It insults their intelligence and makes them very angry.