Newly declassified text messages from former FBI agent Peter Strzok suggest that the FBI began investigating then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his campaign before the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was opened.
While the FBI claims that investigations into Trump’s campaign began with the opening of Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016, communications between Strzok and his alleged mistress, FBI special counsel Lisa Page, show that the agent asked Page to discuss “[o]ur open C[counter-]I[ntelligence] investigations relating to Trump’s Russian connections” with him on July 28, 2016.
Corporate media such as the New York Times suggested that there was no evidence that agents like Strzok were “eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign” and that it was former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’s comments that sparked the investigation.
Former FBI Director James Comey denied knowledge of any investigation until “sometime towards the end of September 2016.”
Previously declassified communications from Strzok, however, show the FBI employees’ strong dislike and criticism of Trump as a presidential candidate. In a string of 2016 messages, just weeks after the formal investigation was opened, Page asked Strzok, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” to which he replied: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
Strzok was told via text in December of 2016 that the DOJ’s Office of Intelligence, “made it clear [REDACTED] would not support even our discussions let alone a [FISA] app” relating to Papadopoulos.
Other text messages released by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on Thursday show more information related to the FBI’s investigation into now-disproven Russian collusion by the Trump campaign as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server very early into the investigations.
In another text from September of 2016, Strzok was informed that allegations that a Trump organization server was secretly communicating with Russian agents are “no longer pointing to any active mail server.”
Strzok also knew that there were “27 confirmed classified TOTAL (26 to ClintonEmail, 1 to Yahoo): -6 of the 27 were SECRET then (4 of which remain SECRET now and 2 of which are CONFIDENTIAL) – 21 of the 27 were CONFIDENTIAL then (16 of which remain CONFIDENTIAL now and 5 of which are UNCLASS or FOUO)” on Clinton’s private email server.
In addition to stoking the investigation into Russian collusion, Strzok is also responsible for reopening a criminal counterintelligence investigation into former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn even though an FBI memorandum previously closed the case after “no derogatory information was identified in FBI holdings.”