Former FBI agent Peter Strzok debunked a February 14, 2017, article in The New York Times on possible contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, noting that the agency had seen no evidence of connections between campaign officials and Russian officers.
Strzok’s type-written comments on the Times article were declassified by the FBI on Thursday, along with several other documents that are currently available on the website of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is not clear exactly when Strzok typed those comments.
“The comments of Peter Strzok regarding the February 14 New York Times article are devastating in that they are an admission that there was no reliable evidence that anyone from the Trump Campaign was working with Russian Intelligence Agencies in any form,” Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said in a statement.
The Times article asserts that “phone records and intercepted calls” showed that Trump campaign officials had contact with members of the Russian intelligence services.
“This statement is misleading and inaccurate as written,” Strzok wrote of the passage. “We have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with [intelligence officers].”
Strzok clarified that an associate of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had been in contact with Russian intelligence and that former campaign official Carter Page had been in contact with Russian intelligence before he joined the campaign. However, Strzok writes, “we are unaware of any calls with any Russian government official in which Manafort was a party.”
Strzok wrote three times in his notes that the FBI was not aware of any contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence. Contact between the campaign and other Russian officials was “almost entirely” with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the Russian Embassy’s congressional liaison.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently conducting an investigation into the procurement of FISA warrants against Page. The Justice Department Inspector General report on those warrants stated that the FBI made numerous errors and omissions in its applications for FISA warrants against Page.
Declassified transcripts of conversations from late 2016 through early 2017 between Kislyak and former national-security adviser Michael Flynn revealed that the two had discussed deescalating tensions after outgoing President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia. Former FBI director James Comey told Obama that the conversations between Kislyak and Flynn “appear legit,” according to separate notes taken by Strzok.
The FBI fired Strzok after the agent’s anti-Trump texts were leaked.