Does this actually change anyone’s impression of what the text from Peter Strzok meant? MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked Lisa Page to clear up any misunderstandings about the context for the “insurance policy” remark, which both former FBI agents have been trying to do for almost two years. It was just an analogy, Page says, to discuss the options left available in case, er, Donald Trump won the election.
“First of all it’s not my text so I’m sort of interpreting what I believed he meant back three years ago, but we’re using an analogy,” Page explained. “We’re talking about whether or not we should take certain investigative steps or not based on the likelihood that he’s going to be president or not. You have to keep in mind if President Trump doesn’t become president, the national security risks, if there is somebody in his campaign associated with Russia, plummets.”
Actually, it was a simile, not an analogy, but why split hairs? The text in question from Strzok read thusly:
I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event vou die before you’re 40…
But what did Strzok mean by “we”? Page tells Maddow that Strzok meant it in terms of
Maddow then asked Page about the messages where she said she was fearful of a Trump presidency.
“By ‘we’ he’s talking about the collective we, like minded, thoughtful, sensible people who were not going to vote this person into office,” Page said. “You know, obviously in retrospect do I wish he hadn’t sent it, yes. It’s mutilated to death and bludgeon an institution I love and it’s meant that I’ve disappointed countless people. But this is snapshot in time carrying on a conversation that had happened earlier in the day that reflected a broad sense of he’s not going to be president. We, the democratic people of this country, are not going to let it happen.”
That explanation makes no sense in the context of Strzok’s text, although both Page and Strzok have consistently stuck to it. The “collective we” had not been read into the case at that point in August 2016; it’s still an open question as to whether the White House “we” had been read into it. The only “we” that would even have known of a “risk” were the Crossfire Hurricane investigators. Furthermore, the remedy of tossing out something to Andrew McCabe as an insurance policy seems very specific for a “collective we” to implement, too. What does McCabe have to do with “we,” other than “we the FBI”?
Had the rest of the Strzok-Page texts been professional and politically detached, maybe one can make an argument for this. As everyone has since discovered, however, their conversations on the 2016 presidential campaign were anything but detached, let alone professional. “God trump is a loathsome human,” read one text from late 2015, and then there was this from June 2016 on a story completely unrelated to the election or any investigation:
And while i hate Trump, part of me thought would not/may not get into^J because they’re white and not from buttf*ck Texas…
One month later, which is one month prior to the “insurance policy” text and around the time of the first interest in what would become Operation Crossfire Hurricane:
Trump is a disaster. 1 have no idea how destabilizing his Presidency
And so on. One could spend hours finding such nuggets in the conversation between the two on their FBI-assigned work phones. Those statements strongly suggest that there was a personal and political animus against Trump among the Crossfire Hurricane investigators (and also among those investigating Hillary Clinton), and the “insurance policy” remark at the start of an investigation certainly seems suspicious in that context. And when one adds in the serial lies, omissions, and misrepresentations made by those investigators to secure a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, that “insurance policy” looks even more suspicious.
The clear impression left by this is that the insurance policy was some action by the FBI to be taken in case voters decided to elect the candidate that Strzok and Page detested. The FISA warrant applications make it appear that they attempted to cash in that insurance policy ahead of time. Page now complains that Congress has defamed her by making these texts public, but if she wanted to ensure that they remained confidential, then the two of them should have used their personal phones for that purpose — or just conversed in person with each other. After all, no one would have recorded those conversations, at least not if they didn’t involve Carter Page.