Fox News, reported yesterday:
Text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page indicate they discussed using briefings to the Trump team after the 2016 election to identify people they could “develop for potential relationships,” track lines of questioning and “assess” changes in “demeanor” – language one GOP lawmaker called “more evidence” of irregular conduct in the original Russia probe.
Fox News has learned the texts, initially released in 2018 by a Senate committee, are under renewed scrutiny, with GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Homeland Security Committee chair Ron Johnson sending a letter Thursday night to Attorney General Bill Barr pushing for more information on the matter.
“Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed,” the senators wrote.
Catherine Herridge, Fox News’ accomplished and responsible investigative journalist, reported that the texts began 9 days after Trump’s election.
Last night Sara Carter wrote that her sources had confirmed Grassley and Johnson had sent a three-page letter earlier that day to Department of Justice Attorney General William Barr asking him to investigate the possible attempt to recruit White House sources
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) April 26, 2019
In their letter Senators Grassley and Johnson write:
“…In the course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team… ”
The nature of these communications, and the precise purpose of any attempts to “develop relationships” with Trump or Pence transition team staff are not immediately clear. Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operations? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication? Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.
On its surface this appears to be a good thing. Another domino being toppled against the Spygate conspirators. But appearances can be deceiving and we should be on guard for what may actually be happening here.
Are Grassley and Johnson, knowingly or unknowingly, inviting us into a trap with this letter.
Consider the curious email that Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent to herself at virtually the very same moment that Donald Trump was taking the Oath of Office on January 20, 2016.
Rice’s email became the subject of a letter from Senators Grassley and Lindsey Graham to Rice.
The Senators wrote to Rice , via her attorney Kathryn Ruemmler: (Quotes from Rice’s email are italicized)
On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
That meeting reportedly included a discussion of the Steele dossier and the FBI’s investigation of its claims.1 Your email continued:
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book“. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.
The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.
Why was Rice memorializing a meeting in an email to herself more than two weeks after that meeting had taken place? How many sleepless nights led Rice to do that?
The wording of Rice’s email might be interpreted as a justification for the outgoing administration’s pervasive and long term spy operations against its political opponents.
Rice, appears to be attempting to protect herself and President Obama.
She wants us to view this operation through the lens that Brennan, Comey, Clapper and Yates had warned President Obama and Susan Rice that President-elect Trump is a potentially compromised Russian asset.
Starting with this premise, anything the FBI and DOJ investigators did after that was done in the interest of protecting the Republic… with the only caveat being that they did it “by the book.”
Spygate conspirators want nothing more than to make their spying operations targeting Donald Trump as the start point for Attorney General Barr’s investigation.
But the operation against Trump – the insurance policy – was to deflect from and to protect from public scrutiny the Obama administration’s politically motivated spy operations that began as far back as 2010.
Do not fall for this trap.