Greater than 9 months after the FBI opened its extremely labeled counterintelligence investigation into alleged coordination between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia, FBI lawyer Lisa Web page stated investigators nonetheless couldn’t say whether or not there was collusion, in keeping with a transcript of Web page’s current closed-door deposition reviewed by Fox Information.
“I feel this represents that even so far as Could 2017, we nonetheless could not reply the query,” Web page stated.
Web page was responding to Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, who wished extra details about a Could 2017 textual content the place Web page, and her then colleague and lover FBI agent Peter Strzok mentioned the deserves of becoming a member of Particular Counsel Robert Mueller’s workforce.
Web page sat for the transcribed interview earlier than the Home Judiciary and Oversight committees in mid-July as a part of a joint congressional investigation into the Justice Division’s dealing with of the Russia and Clinton e mail probes.
In keeping with the transcript, Web page stopped mid-answer.”…sorry. Can I seek the advice of with counsel? I am sorry. I must seek the advice of with FBI counsel for a second.”
Sections of the transcript reviewed by Fox present Ratcliffe pursued the road of questioning at the very least three extra instances, and Web page offered various solutions.
“I can not present the specifics of a confidential interview,” Ratcliffe advised Fox Information when requested for remark. “However I can say that Lisa Web page left me with the impression, primarily based on her personal phrases, that the lead investigator of the Russian collusion case, Peter Strzok, had discovered no proof of collusion after almost a 12 months.”
“Lisa Web page left me with the impression, primarily based on her personal phrases, that the lead investigator of the Russian collusion case, Peter Strzok, had discovered no proof of collusion after almost a 12 months.”
The Could 18, 2017, textual content was highlighted by Inspector Common Michael E. Horowitz in his current report in regards to the dealing with of the Clinton e mail probe by the FBI and the Justice Division. The day after Particular Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment to the Russia probe on Could 17, Strzok and Web page mentioned whether or not Strzok ought to be a part of Mueller’s workforce.
“Who provides a f*ck, yet another A(ssistant) D(irector)…(versus) (a)n investigation resulting in impeachment?” Strzok texted on Could 18, in keeping with the IG report. Strzok later continues, “…you and I each know the percentages are nothing. If I assumed it was seemingly I would be there no query. I hesitate partially due to my intestine sense and concern there is not any massive there there.”
The transcript reveals Ratcliffe learn the textual content alternate almost verbatim to Web page, and requested her to elucidate it, particularly if the lead investigator on the Russia collusion case, agent Strzok believed “the percentages had been nothing and that he had a priority that there was no massive there there concerning any collusion…”
Web page stated: “No, I do not suppose so. I feel it is a reflection of us nonetheless not understanding…It nonetheless existed within the scope of risk that there could be actually nothing, in all probability not nothing nothing, as we in all probability knew greater than that by that time. However within the scheme of the doable outcomes, probably the most critical one clearly being crimes critical sufficient to warrant impeachment; however on the opposite scale that, , possibly an unwitting particular person was, in actual fact, concerned within the launch of knowledge, nevertheless it did not in the end contact any senior, , folks within the administration or on the marketing campaign. And so the textual content simply type of displays that spectrum.”
In the course of the deposition, Web page stated she was not attempting to be “cagey,” however that there have been restrictions on what she may reveal. “I am not supposed to speak in regards to the sufficiency of proof, in order that’s why I’m weighing my phrases rigorously.”
Web page continued: “Investigations are fluid, proper? And so at varied instances, leads are promising and leads fade away. And so I am unable to — I am unable to reply extra his sentiment with respect to this specific textual content, however definitely at this level the case had been ongoing. We did not have a solution. That is apparent. And I feel all of us type of went forwards and backwards about like what — what the reply was actually going to be.”
Could 2017 is a key month as a result of FBI DIrector James Comey was fired by President Trump and Mueller was designated particular counsel. In August, Deputy Lawyer Common Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, wrote the still-secret “scope memo” spelling out the boundaries for the particular counsel investigation.
The texts, and Web page’s response, congressional sources stated, increase vital questions in regards to the probe’s predicate and whether or not by the summer season of 2017 it had largely shifted to an obstruction case, not Russia collusion.
Fox Information requested Web page’s lawyer to touch upon the congressman’s evaluation of the deposition, however there was no instant response.
When Horowitz requested Strzok in regards to the “no massive there there” textual content, Strzok stated: “My query (was) about whether or not or not this represented a big, coordinated conspiracy or not. And from that, as I checked out what would give me skilled achievement, what I assumed could be the very best use of my expertise and abilities for the FBI and for the US, whether or not to take, which path to take.”