WASHINGTON, DC – Judicial Watch revealed last week that it received 191 pages of emails between former FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page which include an August 26, 2016, email in which Strzok says that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her interview with the FBI about her email controversy apologized for “the work and effort” it caused the bureau and saying she chose to use it “out of convenience” and that “it proved to be anything but.”
Strzok said Clinton’s apology and the “convenience” discussion were “not in” the FBI 302 report which summarized the interview.
The emails also suggest that Strzok had information on an intelligence briefing for then-candidate Trump.
The emails are the latest production from a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a December 2017 request for all communications between Strzok and Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)).
The FBI is only processing the records at a rate of 500 pages per month and has refused to process text messages. At this rate, the production of these communications won’t be completed until late 2021.
The new records include an August 26, 2016, email from CNN’s Even Perez to Michael Kortan, the FBI’s assistant director for public affairs, saying: “Do you know if Gowdy is right that the FBI didn’t ask Clinton about her intent? And is that weird?”
Kortan forwards the email to Strzok, saying, “The question of the day …”
Strzok replies to Kortan, “I know, I was getting increasingly irritated at Gowdy last night. I don’t know the basis for him saying that. We certainly asked her. She said she did it for convenience, because she wanted one system for email. We also asked those close to her – Abedin and Mills specifically – who said the same thing.
“[Redacted] but we can find the references in the 302 which discuss it.
“Though not in the 302, at the end of the interview she apologized for the work and effort it created for the FBI. She said words to the effect of, I’m sorry this has caused so much work and expenditure of resources by the FBI. I chose to use my own server out of convenience; it proved to be anything but.”
Strzok forwarded the exchange to Page, saying, “Need to nip this in the bud.”
An August 25, 2016, email thread with the subject line “Found him” was initiated by an unidentified Chicago FBI field office agent and sent to agents in New York, Cleveland and Washington field offices as well as someone in the counterintelligence division.
The Chicago agent writes: “Address is [redacted]. Photo attached.”
A Washington agent (identity redacted) forwards the email to Strzok and FBI Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Jonathan Moffa, writing: “Getting there. Also Pete, let me know if you will when you call CG SAC [redacted] is in a weird spot and even though I’ve made calls I didn’t call SAC Once call is made I’d like to tell [redacted].”
Strzok then forwards the email thread to Page, writing: “Located our source of predication…”
The records also include an August 18, 2016, email from FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Bill Priestap to Strzok, Moffa and a FBI official (identity redacted), asking if they “happen to know when Clinton will receive the brief? And where will it occur, and which two people has she designated to receive it with her?”
Strzok replies, “She has not designated her people and no date is set. I believe brief will be HVRA [the FBI’s Hudson Valley Resident Agent] or WPRA [FBI’s White Plains Resident Agent].”
Further on in the email exchange, the unidentified FBI official from the Washington field office writes, “There is no additional or new info as of this morning when I checked with the DNI scheduler. There is a policy that briefs will not be provided a week prior to a debate. If the other candidate does not ID people soon, there was talk that they may not be able to do them. That’s all I know at this time.”
Strzok forwards the exchange to Lisa Page and says, “And now we’ve got sources in dni <smiley emoji>.”
Page replies, “Yup, I knew the same. Just hadn’t shared yet.”
Strzok responds, “What?! You holding out? <wink emoji>”
Page replies, “Time, dude. Time.”
Strzok responds, “I know, dudette. Hence, the <wink emoji>. Same realization of shit, haven’t even told you about Trump brief…”
The DOJ’s Inspector General report on “Crossfire Hurricane” describes the FBI’s use of a national security briefing to the Trump campaign in August 2016 to try to further its investigation by planting an agent in the room:
[W]e learned during the course of our review that in August 2016, the supervisor of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, SSA 1, participated on behalf of the FBI in a strategic intelligence briefing given by Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to candidate Trump and his national security advisors, including Michael Flynn, and in a separate strategic intelligence briefing given to candidate Clinton and her national security advisors.
The stated purpose of the FBI portion of the briefing was to provide the recipients “a baseline on the presence and threat posed by foreign intelligence services to the National Security of the U.S.” However, we found that SSA 1 was selected to provide the FBI briefings, in part, because Flynn, who was a subject in the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane investigation, would be attending the Trump campaign briefing.
On August 19, 2016, the same day as Paul Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign, Dave Bowdich in FBI Director James Comey’s office initiates an email exchange with the subject line “OGA” [Other Government Agency], in which he tells the top management of the FBI (Randy Coleman, Josh Skule, Michael Steinbach, Amy Hess, Valerie Parlave, James Turgal, James Trainor, Laura Bucheit, Bill Priestap and WL Bean), “We are clear to [redacted]. DJ [likely Associate Executive Assistant Director Dave Johnson] will determine the composition of the team with your collective input. This gets our foot in the door, but we can scale as necessary later.”
Jim Trainor responds, “10-4. Per DJ’s voice mail [redacted]. Stand by for the names.”
Preistap forwards the exchange to Strzok and Moffa, saying, “Pete, Please see the bottom email. We’ve been asked to send 1 person with the FBI team tomorrow. Our 1 person will then be responsible for providing you/me with a recommendation as to what CD’s [Counterintelligence Division’s] resource commitment should be moving forward. Please provide the name of the person who can participate tomorrow, beginning in the AM (details to follow).”
Strzok replies, “OK. Stand by for name”
Strzok then forwards the exchange to Page, who replies “Bowdich sent separately as well.”
Strzok responds, “Oh good <smiley emoji>”.
On August 29, 2016, Strzok forwards a Daily Beast article titled “FBI vs. State Department Over Hillary Clinton’s Secrets” to Page, Moffa and a redacted General Counsel office official, with a note saying, “Good job, State… \u-19179?” – presumably suggesting that the four of them meet to discuss. The article begins, “The FBI and the State Department are at odds over whether Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyers had the proper government-issued security clearances that they needed to keep copies of her emails in a Washington, DC law office last year.”
On August 30, 2016, former FBI Director James Comey emails then-Assistant Director Andrew McCabe, copying Page, James Baker, Priestap and James Trainor with the subject line “WH” and said “Both meetings went well and I was well prepared.… I will need an update briefing on [redacted] next week. As you might imagine, there was great interest in what each of us is doing on that front and in understanding what more we can do and the obstacles we see.” Page forwards the email to Strzok, who replied, “Thanks. Bill asked me as I was leaving if I thought it should be in CD [Counterintelligence Division]. Guessing this prompted it. I said yes then described and endorsed Allies reorganization idea.”
On August 31, 2016, a redacted FBI General Counsel official asks Strzok and Page if they should respond to a Washington Times article that asserts that the FBI found “hundreds, and likely thousands, of violations of the Federal Records Act” by Clinton in her non-government email server use. Strzok’s immediate reply is redacted. Strzok ends up asking for the article to be sent to him.
On September 2, 2016, Chief of Staff James Rybicki sent an email titled “All Member Briefing” to the same top FBI officials as in the August 19 exchange and discusses a “9/8 Director all-member briefing on FBINet. Action is needed by Tuesday (9/6) by CyD [Cyber Division] and CD.” Rybicki follows up on September 2 with an update, saying, “NSC determined that this would be a classified briefing” and that it would “be a briefing for leadership and chairs/rankings of homeland and intelligence committees (12 members).”
In another email exchange on September 2, 2016, FBI agent Stephen Laycock tells Strzok and Moffa that the meeting referenced in the previous exchange on September 2 relates to “the project”. FBI Congressional Affairs Chief Jason Herring is looped in and reveals that the meeting involves alleged “foreign hacking activity.”
Laycock writes, “Hey guys. Sorry to bother at this hour. Are either of you aware of a cyber brief to the D and HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] Tuesday that I believe is related to the project? Just got a call from a buddy who is tdy to cyber as SC and was privy to this presentation where he noticed a few CD centric things that CD may have an interest in taking a look at and scrubbing. This may already have been coordinated but just wanted to make sure.”
On September 7, 2016, a redacted FBI official sent an email to Strzok and Moffa with the subject line “Another quote from Assange on Hannity,” and provides the quote as “We have thousands of examples where she herself [likely Clinton] has a ‘C’ in brackets & signed it off.” Strzok forwards the email to Page, saying “Interesting.”
In a September 8, 2016, email from New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt to Kortan, Schmidt gives the DOJ an early “heads up on something we’re planning on reporting today,” which was about Clinton’s email server technician, Paul Combetta, deleting Hillary’s subpoenaed emails, and saying “The fact that Combetta was given immunity takes much of the air out of the idea that DOJ needs to investigate the deletions.”
“So now we know that the FBI report of Clinton’s ‘interview’ is incomplete and that Peter Strzok may have details on the classified briefing of candidate Trump that were used as pretext for a spy operation. No wonder the FBI had been stonewalling the release of these emails” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.