Oh, no bias at all…
Two FBI agents assigned to the investigation into alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia exchanged text messages referring to the future president as an “idiot,” according to copies of messages turned over to Congress Tuesday night by the Justice Department.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed one of the agents, Peter Strzok, from the Russia probe “immediately” after learning of the texts in late July, the department said in a letter to lawmakers.
The other agent, Lisa Page, had already ended her assignment to Mueller’s office.
Copies of the messages obtained by POLITICO show the pair reacting to various developments as the presidential race unfolded and that their reaction to Trump was negative from early on.
“I just saw my first Bernie Sanders bumper sticker. Made me want to key the car,” Page wrote in an August 2015 exchange.
“He’s an idiot like Trump. Figure they cancel each other out,” Strzok replied.
The messages, which were turned up during a Justice Department inspector general investigation into potential political influence on investigative decisions during the campaign, are fueling Republican calls for a second special counsel to investigate Mueller’s operation.
About 375 texts were handed over by the Justice Department, arriving on Capitol Hill the night before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to face a prolonged grilling in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
The exchanges show Page and Strzok mocking Trump as early as mid-2015.
Responding to a Washington Post story about Trump saying it hadn’t been proven that Russian President Vladimir Putin had killed anyone, Page wrote: “What an utter idiot.”
In a March 2016 message, Page exclaimed: “God trump is a loathsome human….omg he’s an idiot.”
“He’s awful,” replied Strzok.
The agents sometimes expressed respect or outright support for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0,” Strzok wrote in March 2016, calling himself a “conservative Dem.”
“Also did you hear [Trump] make a comment about the size of his d*ck earlier? This man can not be president,” Page said later in the exchange.
The last of the messages are from last December, so it’s unclear how helpful they will be to Trump allies seeking to prove that Mueller’s probe was tainted by bias.
But there are hints in the messages about the concern over Russian influence on the campaign, which was building in the final months of the election contest.
In July 2016, Page expressed concern that the “sandernistas” might undercut Clinton’s campaign.
“I’m not worried about them. I’m worried about the anarchist Assanges who will take fed information and disclose it to disrupt,” Strzok replied, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta
The following month, after exchanging more disparaging messages about Trump’s response to Gold Star father Khizr Khan, Page appears to suggest to Strzok that he needs to save the country from Trump.
“Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace,” Page wrote.
“I can protect our country at many levels,” Strzok replied.
One message suggests that the pair and perhaps other more senior FBI officials were assessing Trump’s chances while at work.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok wrote to Page in August 2016.