The text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, sent over the course of the 2016 campaign and published by Fox News on Tuesday evening, are the best early Christmas present to right-wingers who think the Russia investigation is a sham and the FBI is inherently biased against Trump.
The texts, which involved a member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, were leaked on the eve of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee about the Russia inquiry. Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, Rosenstein is the only person who can fire Mueller.
In the messages, Strzok and Page reveal a poor understanding of cybersecurity, refer to then-candidate Donald Trump as a “loathsome human,” and express a preference for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. The messages also offer a face-palming glimpse into the mundane flirtations of two senior-level agents as they process the political climate leading up to the November election.
Strzok, a veteran counterintelligence investigator, was recently ousted from Mueller’s all-star team probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post, Mueller removed Strzok from the team after learning that the Justice Department’s inspector general was looking into politically charged text messages.
News of Strzok’s removal (as well as the potential existence of anti-Trump messages by FBI agents) provided ammunition to the president and his allies, who’ve repeatedly tried to sniff out any bit of anti-Trump bias among Mueller’s team in order to discredit the investigation altogether. Trump seized on the news, and on Dec. 3 tweeted that the FBI’s “reputation is in Tatters — worst in History!”
Here’s a small selection of some of the best — and worst.
March 2, 2016
Strzok: He asked me who I’d vote for, guessed Kasich.
Page: Seriously?! Would you not D?
Strzok: I don’t know. I suppose Hillary.
Page: I would D.
The fact that they are clarifying their political leanings via text message suggests that they are probably in the early stages of their romance.
March 4, 2016
Strzok: God Hillary should win. 100,000,000-0.
Page: I know.
Page: Also did you hear him make a comment about the size of his d**k earlier? This man cannot be president. Strzok: Yes I did. In relation to this size of his hand. All the “Lil Marco” blah blah blah Strzok: Ok I may vote for Trump.
It's unclear whether Strzok is joking, or considering the voting strategy that some centrists initially pursued: Vote for Trump in the primaries, because there’s no way that he’d be able to beat Clinton in the general.
Page: What? Poor Kasich. He’s the only sensible man up there.
Strzok: He was pretty much calling for death for Snowden. I’m a single-issue voter. ;) Espionage Machine Party
Strzok: Exactly re Kasich. And he has ZERO appeal
Their exchange coincided with the March 3, 2016, Republican candidates debate, which involved Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio. Gov. John Kasich, and Sen. Ted Cruz.
Page: God Trump is loathsome human.
Strzok: Yet he many win.
Strzok: Good for Hillary.
Page: It is.
Strzok: Would he be a worse president than Cruz?
Page: Trump?, yes I think so
Strzok: I’m not sure.
Strzok: Omg he’s an idiot.
Page: He’s awful
Strzok: America will get what the voting public deserves.
Page: That’s what I’m afraid of.
Again, Strzok appears to be making the imprudent assumption that candidate Trump would spell victory for Clinton.
April 2, 2016
Page: So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting, bc you feel bad that you’re gone so much but that can’t be helped right now.
This text send by Page in April 2016 is perhaps the most alarming of the bunch, mostly because it conveys a very poor understanding of secure communications, particularly for senior-level FBI agents. Even if Page was referring to a burner phone (still not secure) or an app like Signal, she can’t have been that concerned given that she nor Strzok hold back when it comes to “venting” in other exchanges.
July 19, 2016
Strzok: Oooh, TURN IT ON, TURN IT ON!!! THE DO*CHEBAGS ARE ABOUT TO COME OUT. You can tell by the excitable clapping.
Page: My god, I’m so embarrassed for them. These are like second-run stars. Nothing the B-list to relate to the kids these days.
Page: And wow, Donald Trump is in an enormous do*che.
In this exchange, Strzok is referring to the fact that Scott Baio was slated to speak at the Republican National Convention, which was about to kick off the following day in Cleveland. Strzok and Page use the word “douchebag” with stunning frequency in these texts.
Strzok: Hi. How was Trump, other than a do*che? Melania? And any luck with home purchases?
July 26, 2016
Strzok: And hey. Congrats on a woman nominated for President in a major party! About damn time! Many many more returns of the day!!
Page: That’s cute. Thanks
July 28, 2016
Page: I really really like Joe Biden.
Aug. 26, 2016
Strzok: Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support.
Sept. 27, 2016
Page: Man, I should’ve started drinking earlier. I’m genuinely stressed about the debate.
Oct. 20, 2016
Strzok: I am riled up. Trump is a f***ing idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer.
Strzok: I CAN'T PULL AWAY, WHAT THE F**K HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!
Page: I don't know. But we'll get it back. We're America. We rock.