Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee today that then-FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe said he did “not recall” whether he was at an August 2016 meeting allegedly held in his own office--that included his then-counsel Lisa Page and then-FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok--in which Page, according to a text message by Strzok, argued “there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected.” Both Page and Strzok had been involved in the Clinton email investigation and both were at the time of the August meeting involved in the investigation of Russian involvement in the presidential election. At today’s hearing, after saying that it was the IG’s understanding that the meeting was in McCabe’s office, Horowitz said: “I’ll be clear, I can’t speak to whether McCabe, Mr. McCabe, was there or not.” -- 'He Said He Did Not Recall' -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) then asked Horowitz: “Did you ask Mr. McCabe?” Horowitz responded: “We did. He said he did not recall.”
The IG report released last week said that Strzok and Page exchanged multiple text messages that included “statements of hostility toward then candidate Trump and statements of support for candidate Clinton.” -- “[W]e identified text messages exchanged between DAD Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, on their FBI-issued cell phones,” the report said. “These text messages included political opinions about candidates and issues involved in the 2016 presidential election, including statements of hostility toward then candidate Trump and statements of support for candidate Clinton. “Several of their text messages also appeared to mix political opinions with discussions about the Midyear and Russia investigations, raising a question as to whether Strzok’s and Page’s political opinions may have affected investigative decisions,” said the report.
“In addition to being involved in the Midyear and Russia investigations, both Page and Strzok were also briefly assigned to the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III,” said the report. The IG reported that Strzok and Page were having an affair. The report says: “Many of the text messages were of a personal nature, including discussions about their families, medical issues, and daily events, and reflected that Strzok and Page were communicating on their FBI-issued phones as part of an extramarital affair.” They also worked not only on the Clinton email investigation, but then, starting in July 2016, on the investigation of Russian involvement in the U.S. election, and then, later, in the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “In addition to their roles in the Midyear investigation, both Page and Strzok were involved in the FBI investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” says the IG report.
“Strzok was assigned to lead the Russia investigation in late July 2016,” says the report. “Page also worked on the Russia investigation, and told us that she served the same liaison function as she did in the Midyear investigation. Both Page and Strzok accepted invitations to work on the Special Counsel staff in 2017.” On August 8, 2016, after Strzok had been assigned to lead the Russia investigation in “late July 2016, he and Page had a text message exchange which the IG described as follows: “In a text message on August 8, 2016, Page stated, ‘[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!’ Strzok responded, ‘No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.’” Interestingly, Page’s half of this text-message exchange was provided to the IG by the FBI, but not Strzok’s response—in which he said of Trump getting elected “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” A footnote in the report explains how the IG had to recover this half of the text exchange through its own forensic analysis of “a folder found on Page’s and Strzok’s Samsung S5 devices.”