The eagerly anticipated Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Micheal Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation includes a previously unreleased text message exchange between disgraced FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his extramarital lover Lisa Page, according to Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs.
Jabobs’ reporting, which came hours before the official release of the IG’s report Thursday, has Strzok assuring Page, “We’ll stop it,” when asked about the possibility of Donald Trump becoming President.
“Several FBI employees Who played critical roles in the investigation sent political messages,” IG report says.
It cites Lisa Page text to Peter Strzok: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
– Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 14, 2018
The exchange would have taken place during the 2016 campaign as Strzok and Page were both working on the Clinton email probe, called “Operation Mid-Year Exam.” Strzok would later be identified as one of those involved in the decision to change the investigation’s findings’ language describing Clinton’s conduct from “grossly negligent” – a criminal standard – to “extremely careless.”
DOJ appeared Wednesday to confirm the authenticity of the new texts even before the report was released. In a statement to congressional committees sent in the morning, a DOJ spokesperson confirmed that:
In May 2018, the Department learned that – after further extensive investigation – the IG has recovered additional text messages, at least two of which are relevant to his final report. The Office of the Deputy Attorney General [Rod Rosenstein] was made aware of one of these particular messages on the evening of June 8 and of the other on Sunday June 10.
According to that statement, the two texts – presumably the damning one’s Bloomberg’s Jacobs references – were only discovered by the IG’s forensic investigators after their successful effort to recover months of communications between Strzok and Page that were lost “due to the technical glitch.”
Despite the apparent inclusion of the texts in the IG’s report, the conclusion of the report, according to Jacobs’ pre-release reporting, is that “While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice.”