‘Obama White House is Running This’ Exchange Between FBI Lovebirds Prompts Grassley to Seek Unredacted Strzok-Page Text Messages
On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to the DOJ seeking the removal of remaining redactions on Strzok-Page text messages.
Grassley gave the Justice Department until June 6th to hand over the requested documents to the Committee.
An exchange between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page quoting a redacted official saying “the White House is running this,” prompted Senator Grassley to seek the removal of remaining redactions to give more context to the conversation.
Grassley said in a letter to Deputy AG Rosenstein:
On May 1, 2018, and May 18, 2018, Committee staff reviewed in camera less redacted versions of the Strzok and Page text message productions provided to the Committee. On several occasions, my staff have requested that the Department of Justice provide the Committee with a redaction key, to no avail. Thus, the Committee is still in the dark about the justification the Department is relying upon to withhold that information from Congress. As one example of redacted material, in a text message produced to the Committee, the price of Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table was redacted. In another, an official’s name was redacted in reference to a text about the Obama White House “running” an investigation, although it is unclear to which investigation they were referring.In order to see under the redactions, Committee staff had to travel to main Justice to review a lesser redacted version. When viewing the still redacted portions in context with the unredacted material, it appeared that the redacted portions may contain relevant information relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the manner in which the Department of Justice and FBI handled the Clinton and Russia investigations.Congress, and the public, have a right to know how the Department spends taxpayer money. I am unaware of any legitimate basis on which the cost of a conference table should be redacted. Embarrassment is not a good enough reason. The manner in which some redactions have been used casts doubt on whether the remaining redactions are necessary and defensible.
Screenshot of the letter:
Here is some more context of this exchange between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page via Andrew McCarthy:
‘The White House Is Running This’
Strzok was back in Washington by 7 p.m., in a cab headed to FBI headquarters. His texts with Page, then and the next afternoon, discussed the various other high-ranking officials who had to be briefed — including Bill Priestap and George Toscas, the deputy attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
On the afternoon of August 5, Strzok and Page engaged in a tense conversation which involved an imminent meeting with “agency people” — an apparent reference to the CIA. Strzok suggested that, for the new case, they should conduct Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning meetings “with [REDACTED]” just “like we did with mye” — Mid Year Exam, the Clinton probe.
Finally, after some back-and-forth over who should be invited to a major meeting about the new case, a meeting was held. In the aftermath, at about 4:30 p.m., Strzok and Page had the following exchange:
Strzok: And hi. Went well, best we could have expected. Other than [REDACTED] quote: “the White House is running this.” My answer, “well, maybe for you they are.” And of course, I was planning on telling this guy, thanks for coming, we’ve got an hour, but with Bill [Priestap] there, I’ve got no control….
Page: Yeah, whatever (re the WH comment). We’ve got the emails that say otherwise.
FBI lawyer Lisa Page recently resigned from her post; Peter Strzok is still employed by the FBI.
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer recently brought attention to this exchange from his Twitter account.
Seems to me the headline here should have been the quote cited by Peter Strzok, attributed to a redacted source, saying “The White House is running this”, referring in August 2016 to the opening of the Trump counter-intelligence investigation. https://t.co/UOaNDZNQL7
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) May 20, 2018
A text from an FBI agent in 2016 says “the White House is running this”, referring to the opening of the Trump investigation, and today’s press corps pays it no attention. It’s amazing the press looks the other way. And they wonder why people think they’re biased. https://t.co/A9kZ6v1cws
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) May 21, 2018