The Inspector General’s recent report on the FBI’s Hillary Clinton investigation has revealed some disturbing facts about the agents who examined the failed presidential candidate’s case. While the IG did not find any “direct evidence” showing that bias affected the result of the Bureau’s probe into Clinton’s conduct, text messages between agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show an animus against President Trump that calls their behavior into question.
The Damning Text Exchanges
Strzok and Page sent over 50,000 text messages to each other. According to the Inspector General’s report, they used their work phones because they did not want their spouses to discover that they were having an affair. While some of the messages had already been revealed to the public, others remained hidden until now. In one text exchange, Strzok and Page discussed their concerns over the election. It is apparent that they wanted Clinton to win the presidency:
Page: Yeah, it is pretty cool. [Clinton] just has to win now. I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about trump. The sandernistas have the potential to make a very big mistake here…
Strzok: I’m not worried about them. I’m worried about the anarchist Assanges who will take fed information and disclose it to disrupt. We’ve gotta get the memo [on the findings of the Clinton email server investigation] and brief and case filing done.
In another conversation during July of 2016, Strzok discussed his opinion on the Russiagate probe. He had been recruited to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to investigate the Kremlin’s alleged interference in the 2016 election:
Strzok: And damn [the opening of the investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion] feels momentous. Because this matters. The other one [the Clinton investigation] did, too, but that was to ensure we didn’t F something up. This matters because this MATTERS. So super glad to be on this voyage with you.
In August 2016, Page and Strzok had an exchange that was not released to the public until recently. These are the messages that make their biases obvious. “Trump’s not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page wrote. Strzok responded, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
From this conversation, it is easy to get the impression that Strzok may have been willing to use his position to influence the election if he deemed it necessary. Another exchange also indicates this point as Strzok wrote, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s [Andrew McCabe] office — that there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
What, exactly, the “insurance policy” refers to is still a matter of debate, although some have claimed that Strzok is talking about the investigation into Trump-Russia collusion.
Did Bias Play A Role In The Clinton Investigation?
The Inspector General’s statement that his team did not find “direct evidence” that bias influenced the investigation sounds more exculpatory than it is. This only means that they did not find a smoking gun proving that FBI agents deliberately used their position to influence the election. For example, there were no recordings or text message in which an agent definitively said, “I’m going to make sure Hillary Clinton is not prosecuted because I don’t want Trump to be president.”
The details discussed in the report are a clear indicator that some agents in the Bureau could have had a political agenda. Current FBI Director Christopher Wray recently indicated that he would have agents go through bias training to prevent this type of behavior going forward. However, the fact that it happened in the first place should be a cause for alarm to all American citizens. There is no doubt that this episode has cast a shadow over the institution, and it is a major reason why the public has lost some of its trust in the FBI.