Denting President Trump’s complaints that the FBI is biased against him, the “Wall Street Journal” read 7,000 text messages between FBI agent Peter Sztrok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page and found no evidence of a conspiracy against Trump.
Some Republicans had used Strzok’s text messages to argue that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was fatally flawed because Strzok, who was removed as one of Mueller’s investigators last summer, had exchanged texts critical of Trump with Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Others said Strzok and Page’s texts indicated there was a “secret society” inside the FBI working against Trump. Trump has accused the pair of “treason.”
But the “Wall Street Journal” reviewed the messages, which had been provided to Congress, and reported, “texts critical of Mr. Trump represent a fraction of the roughly 7,000 messages, which stretch across 384 pages and show no evidence of a conspiracy against Mr. Trump.”
This new batch of texts mostly focused on day-to-day workplace issues, unlike the original set’s discussion of politics. They revealed that the agents “seemed dedicated to their jobs but didn’t hesitate to chastise or criticize many others beyond Mr. Trump, including their colleagues and each other. In deeply personal office chatter, they come across as intense, ambitious and unsure of their standing in the bureau,” the “Journal” said.
Strzok, who had been the lead agent on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, showed an initial reluctance to join the special counsel probe because he was unsure it would lead to anything and he wanted to move up in the bureau. Page hesitantly joined Mueller’s office but returned to the FBI shortly thereafter.
The pair had become a conservative bugbear in recent weeks. They’re mentioned in the controversial, formerly top-secret “Nunes memo,” which alleges an anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department. But Sztrok was removed from the Trump-Russia investigation last July by Robert Mueller after he learned about the anti-Trump texts.