Annotated FBI text messages

Grassley wrote a letter about the first batch of problematic messages he and his staff found among those that were missing. These are from the 5 months of missing text messages between Strzok and Page.

My take on the messages and what they mean below the fold.
The first block of messages start on 2016-02-23. The messages appear to be discussing who would join the team investigating Hillary's emails. There's some frankly a little disturbing discussion about who is leaving and who is coming and whether they saw each other. It feels very conspiratorial and secret-agenty. There was also discussion of who would be "best" to have on the team, and what "best" meant:

Text messages between Strzok and PageWe talked about it, but "best" was not in terms of agents (though thats' what I wrote), it's about what the best outcome is. additional text redacted

So they are discussing who should be on the Clinton email investigation team to assure the best outcome. Not the best investigation -- the best outcome.

Text messages between Strzok and PageOne more thing: she might be our next president. The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she's going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?

Agreed. I called Bill and relayed what we discussed. He agrees...

So they are basically afraid Hillary will retaliate if she wins the election. That's probably a valid fear, given the reputation she has acquired among the Secret Service, but it's not a reason to let her escape justice.

Text messages between Strzok and PageCool. You going to call back? I have one more thing to say, so long as you are out of earshot of folks.

More cloak and dagger. Whoever said that isn't worried about classified material; it would be illegal to discuss those on an insecure cell phone in any case. They are worried about their colleagues overhearing them.

Text messages between Strzok and Page on 2016-03-18Finally leaving. As I think about going away, I remember that we have moved around interviews so that I can be there for them. Those are the things I need to be present for. The question whether I need to be here for this, or not need to, but should...

Yeah, but you know what bugs me? If you weren't in there, who is supposed to point out all the doubts and qualifications about the reporting, all the potential misinterpretations and exaggerations? that person needs to be in the room. I understand it could be you, but it could be me or somebody else at that level. They should have the benefit of that type of nuance and information, and clearly they don't, or at least they don't enough. They're certainly not getting it out of the so-called senior leaders who are sitting round that table besides Andy.

What does this tell us?

First, that Andrew McCabe, whose wife received roughly $700000 in campaign donations in a losing race from Clinton confidante Terry Mcauliffe (who was being investigated by the FBI for financial improprieties at the time!), was involved in the Clinton email investigation and arguing for nuance, doubts, exaggerations, and misinterpretations. McCabe has said he did not recuse himself because he wasn't involved. He clearly was involved, based on this, and favored leniency. In other words, he lied. Did he give that explanation under oath? God, I hope so.

Second, that the people involved in this conspiracy -- and yes, it is now solidly a conspiracy -- were very, very interested in throwing any roadblocks or doubts at the Clinton investigation they could come up with.

Towards the bottom of this page (page 30-31), there's more secret agent stuff about who should and shouldn't be talking to who about things. And they are very worried about who shows up when and whether or not it looks weird. They are hiding their coordination from their colleagues, or at least think they are.

On page 35, there are more references to Andy (presumably Andrew McCabe). He's still involved and not recused. On page 139, they discuss what I think is Comey's announcement that he was reopening the investigation immediately before the election (2016-10-28). McCabe is involved again. He doesn't recuse himself until 2016-11-01, and only because the news finally picked up on the Mcauliffe donations.

Text messages between Strzok and Page on 2016-04-10
Because you know where I was on Thursday or Friday night -- when I was complaining about everyone expecting me to deliver the hard message while they vacillated in discussing with their counterparts. About how my sense of justness and character was at odds with waiting on Sat to say something. And rightfully, you point out to stop being so prima donna-ish and just do it. And i do. And then I find out an hour later that in addition to what I was asked to do, JB went to counsel and had the discussion he did. And I'm the one facing the music. From some who I have known for a long time. Nobody else pays the price. Nobody else will have the same straight hard discussion. Yet I'm the only one who violated his sense of integrity to swallow hard and deliver the message.

I'm not sure if I want to be a part of this.

So what message did you have to deliver that violated your sense of integrity? What were you asked to do? What DID you do that violated your sense of integrity?

The term "eras" comes up several times. It's not clear what it means, but it seems to be related to classification.

Text messages between Strzok and Page on 2017-06-03Please, when you get a chance, plug with Aaron all the behind the scenes work I did with Andy, Jim, etc. to get this result. Andy was NOT going to do it just based on Mueller's convo with him - he just didn't understand what they problem was. AND I did a lot of work to help them understand that redacted was also not the right guy.

Not very clear there. But in general, the writer is talking about where to go next. It's probably Lisa Page leaving Mueller's team but could be the other way around. (Looking at the timing could probably answer that). But what's this about "behind the scenes work" with Andy-who-didn't-recuse-until-the-last-minute to get "this result"?

Just this first batch of recovered messages moves the whole issue from "maybe the FBI has a bias problem" to a bona-fide conspiracy covering the Clinton email investigation, the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump, and the investigation itself.

UPDATE: A new text from a different source.
Alleged Text between Strzok and Pagething is, there are VERY inflammatory things in the 302s we didn't turn over to Congress (because they weren't relevant to understanding the focus of the investigation) that are going to come out in FOIA and absolutely inflame Congress. I'm sure Jim and Trisha and Dave and Mike are all considering how things like that play out as they talk amongst themselves.

So you hid stuff from Congress that you knew would absolutely drive them bonkers, on top of trying to help a criminal escape justice and trying to organize a coup?

This entry was published Thu Jan 25 20:06:10 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2018-01-26 02:45:49.0. [Tweet]

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