In a new batch of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, the two discussed former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision to defer to the FBI in the Hillary Clinton private email server case, with Page claiming Lynch knew no charges would be brought against Clinton.
The Justice Department submitted the text messages to Congress over the weekend, AP reports. The department noted that five months’ worth of texts were missing because of preservation failures by the FBI.
Strzok was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election due to anti-Trump communications with Page, with whom he was having an extra-marital affair.
Page left the Mueller team before the texts came to light. Strzok has since been demoted at the FBI.
In a notable exchange, the pair appeared displeased with the timing of Lynch’s decision to accept the FBI’s conclusion in the Clinton case, which was announced days after the former Attorney General met with Bill Clinton on her plane in Phoenix.
In a July 1 2016 text, Strzok said the Lynch announcement “looks like hell.” Page mockingly called the Attorney General’s decision a “real profile in courag(e) since she knows no charges will be brought.”
Four days later, on July 5, then-FBI director James Comey publicly announced that the FBI would not recommend criminal charges against Secretary Clinton.
Previously released texts revealed that it was Strzok who suggested the change in Comey’s exoneration statement of Clinton from describing her actions as “grossly negligent”–a term with legal weight–to the softer “extremely careless.”
Strzok had a leading role in both the email and Russia probes, overseeing interviews of Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, as well as former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.
Flynn was charged with and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Mills and Abedin were also found to have lied to the FBI regarding their knowledge of Clinton’s email server, but were not charged.
With every batch of texts that comes to light, the rabbit hole keeps getting deeper.