Disturbing internal FBI communications show “damning” evidence of political bias that may have affected the Russian collusion probe.
Memos the Justice Department has received show FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and his team pressing to keep “the hurry the F up pressure” on in an attempt to expedite an investigation, John Solomon wrote in a piece for The Hill.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 6, 2018
According to Solomon:
Memos the FBI is now producing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general and multiple Senate and House committees offer what sources involved in the production, review or investigation describe to me as “damning” or “troubling” evidence.
They show Strzok and his counterintelligence team rushing in the fall of 2016 to find “derogatory” information from informants or a “pretext” to accelerate the probe and get a surveillance warrant on figures tied to the future president.
A letter written by former Trump foreign-policy adviser Carter Page to then-FBI Director James Comey gave Strzok the excuse he needed to pounce.
“At a minimum, the letter provides us a pretext to interview,” Strzok wrote to lover and fellow agent Lisa Page on Sept. 26, 2016.
A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court warrant followed along with nearly a year of surveillance of Page, who has not been accused of doing anything wrong. Memos now reveal how the FBI pressured the Justice Department to put a rush on obtaining Page’s warrant.
Strzok and Page also discussed getting then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to coax a high-ranking DOJ official to sign off on the warrant, Solomon wrote.
“At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok wrote in an email to Page on Oct. 14, 2016, just weeks before Election Day.
Until all the interviews are completed by Congress and DOJ’s inspector general later this year, we won’t know why counterintelligence agents who normally take a methodical approach to investigation felt so much pressure days before the election on this case.
Were they concerned about losing a chance to gather evidence at a critical moment? Or maybe, as some Republicans long have suspected, they wanted to impact the election?
The Page warrant was finally obtained in October and, even after Trump’s win in November, FBI agents kept up the drumbeat trying to find negative information about someone who worked for the president-elect.
“More revelations are certain to occur” as Congress reviews documents, Solomon noted in The Hill, adding that “now, irrefutable proof exists that agents sought to create pressure to get ‘derogatory’ information and a ‘pretext’ to interview people close to a future president they didn’t like.”
“Clear evidence also exists that an investigation into still-unproven collusion between a foreign power and a U.S. presidential candidate was driven less by secret information from Moscow and more by politically tainted media leaks,” Solomon noted.
“And that means the dots between expressions of political bias and official actions just got a little more connected,” he concluded.
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