Former FBI attorney Lisa Page said in an interview on MSNBC that her text messages with former FBI agent Peter Strzok, which revealed political animus against President Trump, were made public only to help “beleaguered” attorney general Jeff Sessions.
Strzok led the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives, and Page worked as an attorney on the probe. During the 2016 election, while the pair were working on the Hillary Clinton email probe, Strzok exchanged messages with Page assuring her that Trump would not win the presidency. Strzok referred to Trump as “a f***ing idiot” and when Page worried Trump would win, Strzok wrote to her, “No, he wont. We’ll stop it.”
“My speculation is [the texts were revealed] because this was not a great time for the Justice Department,” Page told MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. “You had Attorney General Sessions constantly beleaguered and being lambasted by the president for failing to sufficiently protect him. . . . I think it served a useful foil.”
Both Page and Strzok, who were romantically involved when the texts were sent, were fired from the FBI following the release of their exchanges. Strzok sued the FBI in August over what he described as his unfair termination, but the Justice Department slammed his conduct in response to the suit.
“Your excessive, repeated, and politically charged text messages while you were assigned as the lead case agent on the FBI’s two biggest and most politically sensitive investigations in decades, demonstrated a gross lack of professionalism and exceptionally poor judgement,” the Justice Department wrote. “Your misconduct has cast a pall over the FBI’s Clinton Email and Russia investigations and the work of the Special Counsel.”
Page herself has sued the DOJ for “unlawfully” releasing the text messages. Earlier this month, in her first public comments since the messages were revealed, she denied accusations of political partisanship. During her interview on Wednesday, Page continued to assert that the messages were used for political purposes.
“There were plenty of ways to fulfill [the DOJ’s] congressionally mandated oversight responsibility without politicizing our messages, without shoveling them out in the way that they did,” Page said.