Lisa Page has finally emerged after almost two years of silence in a long and emotional interview with The Daily Beast. Page was most recently one of the most senior lawyers in the FBI.
Page was at the center of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation and the Russia collusion conspiracy theory – you know the one – the one where seemingly intelligent people pushed a theory that the president of the United States was a secret Russian agent. Crazy, right?
Page was also at the center of one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the FBI exposing the unethical behavior, dodgy warrants and political bias hiding within its ranks.
Former FBI attorney Page and ex-FBI Agent Peter Strzok were key figures in the 2016 FBI investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Strzok later worked on the “Russia collision” probe but was reassigned after damaging text messages came to light. The messages revealed that he and Page were in the midst of an extramarital affair. They also exchanged anti-Trump text messages, including one in which Strzok suggested he hoped to use the Russia probe as an “insurance policy” against then-candidate Trump’s election.
The messages made Page and Strzok’s bias clear, showing how they very clearly desired to stop both the Trump candidacy and presidency. In fact when Page expressed alarm at a possible Trump victory Strzok assured her that they would “stop it”. Shortly after they launched the Russia investigation.
This week, The Daily Beast published a glowing spread on Lisa Page and quotes the disgraced attorney saying, “There’s no fathomable way I have committed any crime at all.”
This is part of a misinformation campaign that Strzok and Page have been “cleared” by the 2018 Inspector General Report and will be cleared by the report due to be published next week.
The “we’ve been cleared” lie has been repeated ad nauseam by the mainstream media:
The Washington Post published an article claiming that the 2018 report found “political bias did not taint top officials,” including Strzok and Page, during the agency’s Russia probe. A writer in The New Yorker went a step further, arguing that “no convincing evidence has been unearthed” to contradict Peter Strzok’s claims he and his colleagues acted in good faith during the investigation.
Media outlets have continued to repeat this claim following Page’s interview with The Daily Beast. The New York Times suggested recently that the 2018 report “debunked” “conspiracy theories and insinuations” of bias and poor faith from FBI officials. ABC News reported that, while the Strzok/Page affair may have hurt the FBI’s reputation, the 2018 report “found no evidence” connecting certain FBI investigations – including the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server – to any degree of political bias. AOL republished snippets of Page’s Daily Beast interview and added that President Trump’s suggestion that she and Strzok improperly deleted scandalous text messages was “debunked” in last year’s IG report.
However this is quite simply not true. The Inspector General was actually quite damning in his findings. He is also not a law enforcement official, so he has no ability to charge or clear Strzok and Page of anything.
The report certainly didn’t shy away from condemning the FBI and those active on the relevant investigations, including Strzok and Page. It certainly doesn’t “clear” them of any wrongdoing, far from it.
The Inspector General found that the investigated agents “brought discredit to themselves, sowed doubt about the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation, and impacted the reputation of the FBI.”
Additionally, the IG report did actually express concerns about Strzok and Page’s potential bias, stating that “the damage caused by their actions extends far beyond the scope of the Midyear investigation and goes to the heart of the FBI’s reputation for neutral fact finding and political independence.”
In regards to Strzok and Page’s anti-Trump text messages, the report was particularly damning. Strzok’s “insurance policy” text, the report suggested, “is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” And to those claims that the Inspector General found Strzok and Page weren’t politically biased? The IG report actually argues the opposite. In fact, the Inspector General said he “did not have confidence” that Strzok’s actions were politically unbiased.
Most of those claiming the 2018 IG’s report cleared them have probably not read all the text messages or the report. I have because I wrote a play “FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers” consisting entirely of their verbatim texts and congressional testimony. If anything the IG was charitable in his condemnations.
And yet both Strzok and Page continue to play the victim card – with the mainstream media as willing accomplices in the fiction. In actuality, “FBI Lovebirds” Strzok and Page have destroyed any credibility the FBI had left.
The reports about their actions have continued to degrade the reputation of the media as well. If the conspirators had disseminated anti-Obama text messages and launched an investigation into his administration when he was in power, you can bet we’d still be hearing about their “depravity” daily. Instead we have the media playing defense downplaying their biases. And they wonder why no one trusts Washington or the media.
Phelim McAleer is a journalist, podcaster, producer, and playwright.