Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) claim they have uncovered text messages that may show the FBI spied on Trump campaign staffers after the 2016 presidential election.
In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Johnson and Grassley highlight a text messages between FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page prior to a FBI briefing with the Trump transition team. The two seem to discuss using the meeting to foster relationships and gather information about transition team officials, according to the Washington Times.
“…In the course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team,” write the senators.
In the text messages, the former FBI officials:
- Discuss the possibility of developing “potential relationships” at a November 2016 FBI briefing for the Trump transition team
- Specifically discuss sending “the CI [confidential informant] guy” to assess an unnamed person(s) “demeanor”
Strzok: Talking with Bill. Do we want Joe to go with Evanina instead of Charlie for a variety of reasons?
Page: Hmm. Not sure. Would it be unusual to have [sic] show up again? Maybe another agent from the team?
Strzok: Or, he’s “the CI guy.” Same.might [sic] make sense. He can assess if thete [sic] are any news [sic] Qs, or different demeanor. If Katie’s husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships
Page: Should I ask Andy about it? Or Bill want to reach out for andy?
Strzok: I told him I’m sure we could ask you to make the swap if we thought it was smart. It’s not until Mon so Bill can always discuss with him tomorrow.
In their letter to Barr, the Senators pose a number of questions:
The nature of these communications, and the precise purpose of any attempts to “develop relationships” with Trump or Pence transition team staff are not immediately clear. Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operations? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication? Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.