New Transcript: Strzok/Page Text Messages “Freaked Out” Top FBI Lawyer
Top FBI Lawyer James Baker told Congress that reading just “a couple” of text messages between FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page “freaked” him out, according to CNSNews.
A newly released transcript of Baker’s October, 2018 testimony reveals the former top bureau lawyer said messages between the two lovers “worried” him and that he was concerned whether some decisions in the Clinton email investigation may have been “driven by political bias.”
Strzok–as CNSNews points out–was the lead counterintelligence investigator in both the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation and Page was an FBI attorney assigned to work with Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The two lovers exchanged thousands of text messages which included pro-Clinton, anti-Trump rhetoric.
Baker told Congress, “So I only read like a couple [Strzok/Page text messages], literally a couple. But that was enough for me to hear, that it freaked me out. And I was worried and I thought we need to get on top of this quickly.”
In the testimony, a Republican staffer asked Baker, “[I]t’s my understanding you played a very unique role early on with requesting that an inspection be done of the Midyear [Clinton email investigation] case once these texts became known.”
So, yes, when I heard about these texts, I only read a few of them. They were described to me. And I immediately became quite alarmed. And so my thinking was, well, from a — from the — okay. I don’t know what — I know that — I knew that the inspector general was looking at them. I knew that they would address them. And so I knew that there was a process in place.
So what I was concerned about is whether — whether any decisions had been taken — or not taken — in the Midyear case that were driven by political bias of any sort. I was quite worried about that. And I wanted to make sure that we as an institution, the Bureau as an institution, got on top that extremely quickly.
And so I suggested to the leadership that we put together some type of team — I didn’t exactly know how to do that, but I consulted with other folks — to basically do a review of the case and have an independent group of people come in and look at and assess whether any decisions were made that looked unusual, that looked like they were driven by bias, decisions made, actions taken, or things not done.
That’s what I was also worried about, the omissions, right? So we talked about that, and there was an agreement to do that, and eventually it was set up and it was done.
At the outset I was also quite worried, knowing full well that the inspector general’s office was doing an investigation, that I didn’t want to mess up anything that they were doing. And so we worked in coordination with the inspector general. I actually spoke to him and made sure that he knew what we were doing — and his staff — knew what we were doing, why we wanted to do it, to make sure that it was okay with him. And he approved it, his office approved it.
So we went forward with this review, sort of done quietly off to the side. But from my perspective it was incumbent upon us as good managers to actually be good managers and to do this.