WASHINGTON – Texts between two senior FBI officials involved in both the probe of Hillary Clinton's emails and possible connections between Trump associates and Russia show the two frequently discussed their political views, and their intense dislike of candidate Donald Trump and fear he might win.
A review of the texts between senior FBI agent Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page was sent to lawmakers Tuesday night. The texts are now the subject of an ethics investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general, and show the two senior officials repeatedly offering harsh opinions about political figures. Among many other comments, the two called Trump "loathsome" and "an idiot."
The Washington Post reported last weekend that Strzok, the deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was removed from his position in late July as top FBI agent on special counsel Robert Mueller III's team when his bosses learned about the texts between him and Page.
Page had also worked on Mueller's team – which is investigating possible coordination between Trump associates and agents – but left that position earlier in July, for what officials have said were unrelated reasons.
Strzok and Page were key players in the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server to do government work as secretary of state, as well as the probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.
During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The extramarital affair was problematic, these people said, but of greater concern among senior law enforcement officials were text messages the two exchanged during the Clinton investigation and campaign season in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.
The texts were sent to Congress the night before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, where the messages between the two FBI officials could fuel Republican calls for a second special counsel to be appointed to investigate how the FBI handled the Clinton investigation.
One of the earliest texts, from 2015, shows Strzok calling Bernie Sanders, Clinton's rival in the race for the Democratic nomination, "an idiot like Trump. Figure they cancel each other out."
On March 4, 2016, Page texted: "God, Trump is a loathsome human," to which Strzok replied: "Yet he may win."
Strzok then added: "Good for Hillary," to which Page replied: "It is."
That conversation, which takes place after 2 in the morning, includes Strzok texting: "God, Hillary should win 100,000,000-0."
That same night, Page notes Trump's comment about the size of his hands, and says "This man can not be president."
The comments seem to be the two discussing remarks made during political debates.
While some defenders of Page and Strzok have said their comments were harmless and the whole issue was overblown, the two repeatedly expressed strong political opinions.
On March 16, 2016, Page texted Strzok: "I can not believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president." The next month, she texted: "So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can't be traced, you were just venting bc you feel bad that you're gone so much but it can't be helped right now."
Over and over, the two express their contempt for people way beyond Trump and Clinton – other politicians, the press, and lawmakers. "I LOATHE Congress," Strzok texted Page on June 22, 2016.
During the Republican National Convention, Page texted: "wow, Donald Trump is an enormous d*uche." Speaking of the Trump campaign's apparent lack of coordination, she added: "It's just a two-bit organization. I do so hope his disorganization comes to bite him hard in November."
Responding to Trump's public fight with a Gold Star family in August 2016, Page texted: "Trump should go f himself."
That same month, Strzok wrote that he's "worried about what happens if [Clinton] is elected," though he doesn't explain his concern.
Most of the exchanges are back-and-forths about the pair's disgust with Trump, but as they get closer to Election Day, the two watch at least one Clinton-Trump debate and their feelings are clear.
"Oh hot damn," Strzok texted. "HRC is throwing down saying Trump in bed with russia," then adding: "She could do SO MUCH BETTER… but she's just not getting traction… Jesus."
On Election Day, he texted: "OMG this is F*CKING TERRIFYING," forwarding a story saying Clinton could lose, to which Page replies, "Yeah, that's not good."
Days after the election, Page texted to say she bought All the President's Men, a book about Nixon and Watergate, because "I needed to brush up on Watergate."