Newly released and unredacted texts from former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page not only reveal an effort to stonewall Congress from doing its Constitutionally-mandated oversight, they reveal an utter contempt for the law.
The article focuses on their contempt of Congress, but it really reveals that these two FBI agents, who now appear to be quite typical of much of the FBI’s upper management, were aggressively promoting a cover-up of illegal FBI actions and defying Congress in the process.
About a week after Comey’s press conference, Strzok wrote to Page that he was “Worried about work.” He was worried about “How much we decide to release, the prospect of second guessing.” It’s one thing if the second-guessing came from DoJ’s inspector general, but Strzok wasn’t about to be overseen by lawmakers: “The IG doing that bugs me;” Strzok texted, “Congress doing so infuriates me.”
He was doubly worried because, that day, Chaffetz and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte had sent a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia asking that Hillary Clinton be investigated, and perhaps prosecuted, for perjury. For Strzok, the referral was yet another reason to withhold information requested by Congress: “You read the referral yet?” Strzok asks Page. “We really want to drop the LHM [a summary of an investigation called a Letterhead Memorandum] and 302s [FBI interview notes] into that environment?”
Page called the requests from the Hill, “insulting” and Strzok declared “I just have no faith in Congress to respect our investigative information. The LHM and no more. Not even senior people’s 302, unless what we’d release via foia [the Freedom of Information Act].”
Even when the FBI was cornered into making documents available, they did their best to hobble efforts to read them. Here’s Peter Strzok texting Lisa Page on August 16, 2016, the day the FBI finally turned over a single heavily redacted copy of the 302 notes of Hillary Clinton’s FBI interview: “I’m strongly opposed to making any more copies for Congress. We limited on purpose, After careful consideration. If they let any particular committee get the copy, tough. Let them sort it out.” [emphasis mine]
Peter Strzok very eloquently sums up their attitude in one later text: “F them.”
Contempt for Congress is perfectly reasonable. I actually agree with them here. Refusing to obey the orders of elected officials, however, is an abuse of power, is illegal, and at a minimum should have gotten them fired, immediately. Instead, the FBI leadership (Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, etc) worked with them to defy Congress.
As I said yesterday, these people should also go to jail. They not only broke their oaths to defend and obey the Constitution, they participated in a criminal cover-up, in this case acting to protect the Democratic Party’s candidate for President from criminal prosecution.