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'I'm done being quiet': Lisa Page emerges ahead of FISA report

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 12/2/2019 Daniel Chaitin
a woman in a black shirt: Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page leaves following an interview with lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill in D.C. © (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page leaves following an interview with lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill in D.C.

Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer whose anti-Trump text messages became ammo for Republicans to allege a "coup" against President Trump, stepped into the public spotlight one week ahead of a highly anticipated Justice Department inspector general report.

In the evening Sunday, the Daily Beast published an interview with Page and shortly afterwards she joined Twitter.

"I’m done being quiet," Page said in a short tweet sharing the report. Benjamin Wittes, editor-in-chief of Lawfare and "good friend" of former FBI Director James Comey, confirmed the account, @NatSecLisa, is hers.

Page, 39, has been publicly silent ever since she left the bureau in May 2018 amid a political firestorm sparked by the revelation that she exchanged text messages with then-FBI special agent Peter Strzok in 2016 and 2017 that were heavily critical of Trump and also had an affair with her colleague.

In the interview, Page, who is married and a mother of two small children, claims she came forward now because Trump performed a "demeaning" impression of her having sex with Strzok during a rally in Minneapolis last month, calling it "the straw that broke the camel’s back." She also noted how Trump name-dropped her this month in a tweet about a "double standard" when his longtime confidant Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness intimidation.

"My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He's demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening," she said.

Page's emergence comes nearly one week before DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is set to release his report on alleged government surveillance abuses against onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. As a member of the FBI counterintelligence investigation into Trump's campaign, and later special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation until she was removed upon the revelation of her text messages with Strzok, Page is likely to be a witness in the case.

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Early leaks about a draft report reportedly show Horowitz found missteps and lapses in judgment by the FBI, but no evidence of spying on the Trump campaign or political bias by top officials tainting the Russia investigation as Trump and his allies have claimed. U.S. Attorney John Durham is also conducting a criminal inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation, which recently shifted from an administrative review.

“While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone," Page said.

The text messages between Page and Strzok were uncovered over the course of the Justice Department's inspector general investigation into the DOJ's and FBI's conduct during the investigation into Hillary Clinton's unauthorized private email server. Horowitz's report on that matter, which came out in the summer of 2018, said their text messages "potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations. But Horowitz determined there was no evidence “improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions."

In one notable exchange in August 2016, Page asked Strzok, “[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

“No. No he won’t,” Strzok replied. “We'll stop it."

Page was grilled about her text messages during private testimony in June 2018 to a joint congressional task force investigating potential bias in the Justice Department and the FBI. The transcript was released in March.

Page was recently mentioned in Strzok's wrongful termination lawsuit against the FBI. In its response to Strzok, the Justice Department revealed two weeks ago that Strzok’s wife discovered his affair with Page on his phone in 2017.

She was also dragged into the case of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with a Russian envoy. His legal team claims Page was part of a plot to "set up" Flynn by manipulating FBI interview notes. The Justice Department has called this claim and others "divorced from the facts."

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