The bombshell text exchange released in the Justice Department inspector general report showing that a key investigator in both the Hillary Clinton email and the Russia-collusion investigations was bent on ensuring Donald Trump did not win the 2016 election was revealed to congressional investigators only hours before the world saw it.
Peter Strzok’s declaration that “We’ll stop” Trump from becoming president was redacted from documents the FBI handed over to the House Intelligence Committee, said the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
That blackout of information showing the political bias of investigators amounted to a “classic case of obstruction,” he said in an interview Thursday night with the Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham.
The congressman’s committee had been asking for an unredacted copy of Strzok’s exchange with paramour Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, since late last year.
“Why did I find out about that, today, at noon?” Nunes asked. “How could that have possibly have been redacted?”
“I mean, this is a classic case of obstruction, but then, the question is, who’s going to go investigate these guys?” the congressman said.
The texts between Strzok and Page “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations,” according to the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Page wrote to Strzok: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok replied: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
Strzok was a key member of the FBI’s counter-intelligence team investigating during the 2016 election campaign Clinton’s use of an unsecure private server to transmit classified information. After FBI Director James Comey announced he would not recommended criminal charges despite Clinton’s “exceedingly reckless” actions, Strzok was assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
Nunes said the withholding of the newly revealed Strzok texts is “a new example of obstruction of a congressional investigation.”
“The same people in charge today still believe they can run the clock out, and they’re trying to run the clock out for the rest of this Congress so we can’t finish our investigations,” he told Ingraham.
After reading the explosive exchange with Page, Nunes noted that when Strzok finished the Clinton probe, he became the “lead investigator that starts off the counter intelligence investigation, using our intelligence agencies to go after and target the Trump campaign.”
Strzok was removed from the Mueller team last year after Horowitz disclosed 375 text messages between Strzok and Page that included disparaging references to Trump.
Nunes told Ingraham he couldn’t imagine how Mueller’s investigation could “end up fairly,” with at least five people removed from the team and Clinton donors comprising the rest.
The congressman said his investigators eventually will “get all of the documents that we want, and ultimately this is all going to spill out and then people are going ask well, what are you going to do? Who’s — who’s going to get busted? Who’s going to go to jail?”
Strzok’s declared determination to “stop” Trump was significant, Horowitz concluded, in light of Strzok’s role in the decision not to immediately inform Congress in September 2016 that some 300,000 emails related to the Clinton investigation had been found in a separate probe on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Ingraham noted that, consequently, Horowitz and his team “did not have confidence” that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Clinton probe was “free from bias.”
“But they’re all dining out on the fact on the left, well there was no political bias on the part of Comey that was found. So they’re trying to really downplay it,” she said.