White House

Trey Gowdy Dismisses Lisa Page’s Claim that Texts were Taken Out of Context: ‘They Were Talking about Impeachment’

Former Representative Trey Gowdy in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy on Monday dismissed former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s argument that her text messages criticizing President Trump were taken out of context, saying no context is necessary to confirm her bias.

“They were talking about impeachment before even Adam Schiff was talking about impeachment,” Gowdy said on Fox News, referring to the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which concluded its impeachment hearings last month.

“When she says things need to be put in context, the word ‘loathsome’ really doesn’t need to be put in context,” the former South Carolina Republican congressman continued. “And when you say somebody will be a national security disaster, that doesn’t need to be put in context.”

Strzok and Page helped lead the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as well as the counterintelligence investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. They were both removed from the Russia investigation after special counsel Robert Mueller learned of the partisan text messages they were exchanging on government phones.

Page has avoided the public eye since her text messages were released by the FBI in 2017. She broke her silence over the weekend, explaining in an interview with The Daily Beast that text messages between herself and former FBI head of counterintelligence Peter Strzok, with whom she had an extramarital affair, were taken out of context and are not evidence of bias that affected her official duties, as many Republicans have claimed.

“I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” Page said. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

In one text exchange that particularly rankled Republicans, Strzok stated “we’ll stop it” in reference to Trump’s election. In another, Page called Trump “a loathsome human” and Strzok referred to him as “an idiot.”

“These texts have been out there for, what, almost two years now? So your viewers are smart enough to read them and know that the lead FBI agent in the lead-up, your lawyer, were both biased against Donald Trump,” Gowdy said. “That’s who was investigating him in 2016. I’m not sure how she thinks context is going to improve that.”

“Yep, she does have freedom of speech and we have the freedom to reject what she said and tell her we don’t believe it,” the former top Republican added.

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