REPORT: War of words erupts after texts tell of FBI ‘media leak strategy’
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A top Republican congressman and fired FBI agent Peter Strzok’s lawyer traded scathing, no-holds-barred accusations of deliberate dishonesty on Tuesday, one day after newly unearthed text messages showed Strzok discussing a “media leak strategy” with the Justice Department in April 2017.
The texts were first outlined in a letter sent by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday. In one of the messages, dated April 10, Strzok tells former FBI attorney Lisa Page, “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”
The article goes on to state the following:
In a revised letter sent Tuesday, Meadows, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, writes that on April 22, Strzok texted that “article is out! Well done, Page.” It is unclear what article Strzok was referring to, or whether it was about the Russia case. In Meadows’ original letter, however, he claimed that exchange occurred on April 12 — one day after The Washington Post published a story titled, “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page.”
Meadows’ revised letter also includes a comment from Strzok to Page on April 12, in which Strzok suggests an article about Page’s “namesake” would soon come out. That was an apparent reference to Page, the former Trump adviser whom the FBI surveilled for months after obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. During April 2017, there was widespread reporting about Page, his Russia contacts, the FBI’s interest in those contacts and the surveillance warrant that is supposed to remain secret.
UPDATE: Today we sent an updated letter to DAG Rosenstein, including a newly discovered text + new resulting timeline:
4/12/17: Strzok texts Lisa Page two articles are coming about “her namesake” (Carter Page)
4/22/17: Strzok tells Page: “article is out!” and “Well done, Page” pic.twitter.com/9af9BvbjM3
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) September 11, 2018
So, the new timeline:
4/10/17: Strzok texts Lisa Page wanting to discuss a “media leaking strategy.”
4/12/17: Strzok texts Lisa Page that two articles are coming about “her namesake” (Carter Page)
4/22/17: Strzok texts Page: “article is out!” and “Well done, Page”
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) September 11, 2018
According to Strzok’s lawyer, Meadows wildly misinterpreted those texts when he told Rosenstein that they “should lead a reasonable person to question whether there was a sincere desire to investigate wrongdoing or to place derogatory information in the media to justify a continued probe.”
“The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media,” Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, said earlier Tuesday. “The president and his enablers are once again peddling unfounded conspiracy theories to mislead the American people.”
Peter Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, responds, calling the Meadows accusation an “unfounded conspiracy theory:” “The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media.” https://t.co/Wz7ATKTC6k
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 11, 2018
But Meadows made it clear Tuesday he was not buying that explanation.
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Peter Strzok–the same guy who was caught on text message saying: “we’ll stop Trump” (from becoming President)–wants you to believe he didn’t leak damaging Trump stories to the media. He was actually the one trying to STOP the leaks.
You be the judge.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) September 12, 2018
STRZOK lawyer, Aitan Goelman:
“The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media. The President and his enablers are once again peddling unfounded conspiracy theories to mislead the American People.”
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) September 11, 2018
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Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, responded Tuesday that his client was not referring to leaking to the media — but a strategy to prevent leaks.https://t.co/8gtorrVwGm
— ItzLisa (@ItzLisa7) September 11, 2018
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