Nothing to see here, folks. Move right along.
According to The Washington Post, the reason senior FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page used an untraceable phone when talking about Hillary Clinton was to hide their extramarital affair.
Strzok and Page participated in the FBI probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server and special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
They were also lovers who frequently texted each other about Clinton and President Trump, mocking Trump as “an idiot” and a “menace” while discussing efforts to stop him from defeating Clinton, whom they both appeared to support.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 15, 2017
One such tweet — there were more than 10,000 between the lovers — has drawn the suspicion of members of Congress.
“So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting [because] you feel bad that you’re gone so much but it can’t be helped right now.” the April 2016 text stated, according to the Post.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 13, 2017
Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked for an explanation in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.
“The mention of ‘Hillary’ may refer to Secretary Clinton and therefore could indicate that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page engaged in other communications about an ongoing investigation on a different phone in an effort to prevent it from being traced,” Grassley wrote.
In their quest to prevent democracy from dying in darkness, the Post trotted out an unnamed source or two who insisted the text had nothing to do with the Clinton probe.
“People familiar with the matter said that, although Page’s message may appear to suggest that she and Strzok used a separate communications channel for discussing the Clinton case, the point of her text was to advise Strzok how to explain to his wife why the two of them had been texting each other,” the newspaper reported.
In effect, the FBI officials used a phone that “can’t be traced” to hide their interoffice romance from Strzok’s wife, not because they were conspiring to help Clinton.
But while the wife couldn’t trace the texts, the FBI could.
“People close to the case” told the Post that had Page and Strzok used their personal phones instead, the bureau may not have learned of their exchanges which have called into question the integrity of the FBI.
Strzok led the Clinton investigation and reportedly softened the language former FBI Director James Comey used to describe Clinton’s actions, changing “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” according to CBS News.
The legal implications of the change are significant — “gross negligence” in handling classified information can carry criminal penalties.
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