And the hits just keep on coming.
Just hours after we reported that according to the latest batch of text messages between anti-Trump FBI investigators, a “secret society of folks” within the DOJ and the FBI may have come together in the “immediate aftermath” of the 2016 election to undermine President Trump, another blockbuster text message appears to have emerged.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a radio interview that the FBI’s top agent on the Trump-Russia investigation, Peter Strzok, sent what Johnson called a “jaw-dropping” text message last year that suggests he saw no evidence of Trump campaign collusion.
As first reported by the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, in an interview with WISN-Milwaukee radio host Jay Weber, Johnson read aloud a May 19, 2017 text that Strzok sent to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his mistress.
As Weber summarized, “Sen Ron Johnson tells me he’s discovered a text from Peter Strzok 2 days after the Mueller investigation in which he questions whether he wants to be part of it because he believes ‘there’s nothing there’. No collusion.”
The Strozk text verbatim on joining the Mueller investigation: May 19th, 2017- 'You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I'd be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern that there's no big there there.'
— Jay Weber (@JayWeber3) January 23, 2018
Here is the “jawdropping” text message that Strzok wrote just two days after Mueller was named special counsel for the Russia Investigation:
“You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern that there’s no big there there.“
Johnson said that the text referred to the Mueller investigation, which had kicked off two days earlier. Strzok joined that team, but was removed in July after the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered his anti-Trump text exchanges with Page.
As the FBI’s deputy counterintelligence chief, Strzok had been picked in July 2016 to oversee the investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government; in other words the text message came almost one year after the anti-Trump FBI agent had already done preliminary work on whether there was any Trump collusion. Prior to that, he was a top investigator on the Clinton email inquiry.
“I think that’s kind of jaw-dropping,” said Johnson, a Republican, said of the Strzok text.
“In other words, Peter Strzok, who was the FBI deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division, the man who had a plan to do something because he just couldn’t abide Donald Trump being president, is saying that his gut sense is that there’s no big there there when it comes to the Mueller special counsel investigation,” Johnson explained.
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This particular text message was included in 400 pages of text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page. Lawmakers have started reviewing the trove of documents for evidence of anti-Trump and pro-Clinton bias as part of an ongoing investigation. Yesterday AG Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ was also beginning an investigation into the months of missing text message that the FBI had failed to preserve.
Johnson also addressed the revelation last Friday that the FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page. A Justice Department official told Johnson’s committee and five other congressional panels that a “misconfiguration” issue caused “many” FBI-issued mobile devices to not back up to the bureau’s servers.
In a shocking disclosure late last week the FBI said it did not have text messages for Strzok and Page for the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 — the day that Mueller was appointed.
Johnson said that Congress needs to see the missing text messages because Strzok and Page were “completely unguarded in their communication.”
“So we’re getting insight into exactly what is happening inside the FBI at the highest levels. And who knows who else they might implicate in terms of corruption,” he said.
Meanwhile the question of just who was obstructing justice – Trump or the FBI and the DOJ – is becoming increasingly more pressing with each passing day.