While the Department of Justice’s Inspector General report released Monday identified numerous FBI shortcomings in its handling of FISA applications, Inspector General Michael Horowitz agreed the bureau’s factually and legally justified in opening its investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Despite years of hand-wringing that the inquiry was launched based on false information and anti-Trump bias, the report explicitly debunked the multitude of conspiracy theories claiming the bureau attempted to malign the president as part of a politically motivated coup to remove him from office.
President Trump often returns to this theory, specifically citing to the publicly released text messages between former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
When Lisa Page, the lover of Peter Strzok, talks about being “crushed”, and how innocent she is, ask her to read Peter’s “Insurance Policy” text, to her, just in case Hillary loses. Also, why were the lovers text messages scrubbed after he left Mueller. Where are they Lisa?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2019
At a prior campaign rally, Trump even appeared to mimic an orgasm to mock Strzok and Page.
A previous inspector general investigation, also conducted by Horowitz, strongly rebuked Strzok and Page, but ultimately found that their political affiliations did not affect the FBI’s investigatory decisions with regard to the 2016 presidential election.
Further exposing the flimsy foundation of such theories, Monday’s OIG report contained excerpts from conversations between several FBI special agents involved in the investigations illustrating staunch support for then-candidate Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton.
The messages were sent the Supervisory Special Agent (SSA), the Handling Agent (HA), and co-case Handling Agent (CHA) for a confidential human source (CHS), who was a known Trump supporter. The messages clearly reflected the agents’ support for President Trump.
“On November 9, the day after the election, the SSA contacted another FBI employee via an instant messaging program to discuss some recent CHS reporting regarding the Clinton Foundation and offered that ‘if you hear talk of a special prosecutor .. .! will volunteer to work [on] the Clinton Foundation,’” the report stated. “The SSA’s November 9, 2016 instant messages also stated that he ‘was so elated with the election’ and compared the election coverage to ‘watching a Superbowl comeback.’ The SSA explained this comment to the OIG by saying that he ‘fully expected Hillary Clinton to walk away with the election. But as the returns [came] in .. .it was just energizing to me to see …. [because] I didn’t want a criminal to be in the White House.’”
Several legal experts, including attorney Mark Zaid (he’s part of the legal team currently representing the Ukraine whistleblower), were quick to ask if Fox News opinion hosts would condemn the pro-Trump FBI agents for showing their biases.
What a wacky conspiracy world we live in. https://t.co/ktUPfdkGsB
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) December 9, 2019
Additionally, the report also contained a brief transcript of a conversation between the HA and CHA, which also took place the day after Trump’s election.
Handling Agent: “Trump!”
Co-Case Handling Agent: “Hahaha. Shit just got real.”
Handling Agent: “Yes it did.”
Co-Case Handling Agent: “I saw a lot of scared MFers on … [my way to work] this morning. Start looking for new jobs fellas. Haha.”
Handling Agent: “LOL”
Co-Case Handling Agent: “Come January I’m going to just get a big bowl of popcorn and sit back and watch.”
Handling Agent: “That’s hilarious!”
Former White House director of government ethics Walter Shaub, an Obama appointee who resigned in 2017, opined that the texts revealed the GOP’s Strzok-Page fury to be nothing more than “disingenuous political theater.”
Is this where the people who demanded that Page and Strzok be fired now demand that these agents be fired for sending pro-Trump and anti-Clinton texts? Of course not. Their demands were disingenuous political theater . . . as they will now make clear with their silence. https://t.co/ldK98riPbM
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 9, 2019
[image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]