Mueller investigators' text messages in 2017 mull "insurance policy" in case of Trump victory

Text messages involving an FBI agent assigned to both Robert Mueller’s special-counsel probe and the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton have called the integrity of both cases into question. Peter Strzok got reassigned from his top counterintelligence position to Human Resouces after the discovery of the communications with fellow FBI agent Lisa Page, also briefly assigned to the Mueller team. Their comments over more than a year of text communications reveal a heavy bias against Republicans in general and Donald Trump in particular, but it might be Strzok’s affinity for Hillary that could put the FBI under a microscope — including James Comey:


Text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in 2016 that were obtained by Fox News on Tuesday refer to then-candidate Donald Trump as a “loathsome human” and “an idiot.”

More than 10,000 texts between Strzok and Page were being reviewed by the Justice Department after Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe after it was revealed that some of them contained anti-Trump content. …

House Intelligence Committee investigators have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events that began when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump “dossier” and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate. …

He also was present during the FBI’s July 2016 interview with Hillary Clinton at the close of the email investigation, shortly before then-FBI director James Comey called her actions “extremely careless” without recommending criminal charges.

The main concerns here will likely center on the Clinton investigation, at least for Congress. They still want answers about Comey’s decision that her end-run around both the Federal Records Act and security requirements for classified information only came up to the level of “extreme carelessness” and not “gross negligence,” when the latter would have met the standard of a crime under the Espionage Act. Strzok appears to have been an integral part of that decision, and the text messages revealing his political bias at the time might provide answers for Congress as to how that conclusion was reached.


In the months just prior to that conclusion, Strzok and Page mull over the stakes involved in the primary contests:

“Martin O’Malley’s a freak show,” Strzok messaged Page in January 2016, a reference to the former governor of Maryland who ran a brief campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

In March 2016, Strzok and Page discuss telling someone who they will vote for in the coming 2016 presidential election.

Strzok texted Page, “I suppose Hillary,” and then moments later, “I would D [Democrat.” …

Days after the exchange — March 2016 — Page texted Strzok, “God trump is a loathsome human,” to which Strzok replies, “Yet he may win.”

That seems rather telling. One could argue that an agent faced with a decision less than two months later that could knock out the “D” in favor of the “loathsome human” after both won their respective nominations could have put his thumb on the scale to keep the “D” in the race. Given the difficulty in parsing out the difference between “extreme carelessness” and “gross negligence” in a Cabinet official who deliberately hid her secret e-mail system from both Congress and the courts until it was discovered in the course of another investigation, that question seems veeeeeeery pertinent indeed.

However, the issues aren’t entirely limited to the Hillary probe. The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross found a couple of cryptic messages that suggest some sort of plan to deal with a Trump win, one possibly involving FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe:


“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok wrote in a cryptic text message to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his mistress.

“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok wrote in the text, dated Aug. 15, 2016.

Andy is likely Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Just what would this insurance policy be? An attempt to allege collusion with Russian propagandists, perhaps?

The rest of the anti-Trump bias in the message strings might be less of an issue, only because it’s not clear whether Mueller’s probe will result in any real action against Trump anyway. If it does, though, some of the rest of the texts will undermine any hope that Mueller will have in maintaining an air of impartiality of his operation. Texts like these will come back to bite Mueller:

During the Republican National Convention, the two goaded each other to flip it on.

“TURN IT ON, TURN IT ON!!! THE DOUCHEBAGS ARE ABOUT TO COME OUT,” Strzok messaged Page on July 19, 2016.

Page replied moments later: “And wow, Donald Trump is an enormous d*uche.”

And it’s tough to see how Mueller will rally ordinary Americans to support his conclusions with Strzok bon mots such as these:


“What the hell has happened to our country!?!?!??” Strzok said, days later adding he is “worried about what Trump is encouraging in our behavior.”

On August 26, 2016, Strzok told Page he went to a Walmart in southern Virginia and he could “SMELL the Trump support.…”

The damage here may be limited to the optics of the texts. Former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, no fan of the outcome in the Hillary Clinton probe or the special counsel investigation at all, says there’s less here than meets the eye:

These texts matter in terms of how Mueller’s conclusions will be received. They also prompt questions as to how many other partisans might have been part of either or both operations, and whether their attitudes have poisoned outcomes in both too. The texts don’t really answer those questions, but they do raise them. Congress should first dive into what Strzok had in mind for an “insurance policy,” and determine whether Mueller may have had his investigation fatally compromised by a political operation within the FBI.


Update: A number of people wonder whether Strzok could have been referring to the Steele dossier. It’s certainly possible, as it would have been known to the FBI by this point. The question would be whether Strzok knew about it from an independent investigation, or because the Hillary Clinton campaign had fed it to him. That’s a question Congress should ask the FBI immediately.

Update: Andrew is rethinking his position in light of these messages:

It at least suggests that high ranking officials at the FBI planned to use their power to counter the results of an election. That’s worth a very thorough look.

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