December 1, 2019

IF YOU INVESTIGATE RUSSIA YOU CAN'T HELP CATCHING DONALD:

Lisa Page Speaks: 'There's No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All' (Molly Jong-Fast, Dec. 1st, 2019, Daily Beast)

By February 2016, she was working on one of the most important investigations at the FBI-the Hillary Clinton email case. "We knew that the case was going to get picked apart," she says. "And we know there's not a person on the FBI team or the DOJ team who thinks this is not the right result. There is no case to be brought here. But it's very busy. It's very intense. Director [James] Comey was very clear he wanted this completed as soon as humanly possible and outside of the political environment. So there was a real focus to get it done before the conventions that were happening that summer. And so that's what we did." 

"But her emails" would soon give way to an actual threat to national security, one that existed not in the fever dreams of Fox and the Breitbart comments section, but in the real, dangerous world the FBI exists to protect us from, where things like foreign meddling in our elections takes place: strong evidence of Russian interference in the election on behalf of Trump.

"There are two things that happen in the late summer of 2016," Page says. "The first, of course, is that the FBI gets the predication [courtesy of loose-lipped George Papadopoulos], which starts the Russian investigation. We learn about the possibility that there's someone on the Trump campaign coordinating with the Russian government in the release of emails, which will damage the Clinton campaign." 

"Predication" sounds mild for what it really means; in the summer of 2016, the FBI and the intelligence community were seeing increasing signs from a variety of intelligence sources and programs (that Page cannot and will not discuss due to classification reasons) that members of the Trump campaign were tied to a variety of Russian intelligence services, and that the Russian Federation was in the midst of trying to manipulate the 2016 United States election with a sweeping information warfare and propaganda effort. As The New York Times reported on Nov. 22, "U.S. intel services concluded, and have told Senate Republicans, that Russia mounted a massive disinformation campaign to implicate Ukraine in 2016 meddling and hide its own role."

At the end of July 2016 Page finds herself transitioning from one investigation, the Hillary Clinton email inquiry, to another the Russian government disinformation probe. The president is not under investigation, but the FBI is trying to determine if someone associated with his campaign is working with Russia.

"We were very deliberate and conservative about who we first opened on because we recognized how sensitive a situation it was," Page says. "So the prospect that we were spying on the campaign or even investigating candidate Trump himself is just false. That's not what we were doing." 

From summer 2016 to spring 2017, Page worked for McCabe, who had become deputy director. They were very busy, but things were largely normal. And then, on May 9, 2017, FBI Director Comey was fired. What was that like?

"It was horrible," Page said. "It was a devastating moment at the FBI. It was like a funeral, only worse, because at least when someone dies, you get to come together and celebrate and talk about that person. He was still alive. But he was inaccessible to us. It jolted the ranks and the investigation. It was so abrupt. He was there one day and gone the next."

Was that very unusual?

"Well, I mean, all of it was!" she replied. "The FBI director had just been fired. Yes, it was totally within the authority of the president, but it was unprecedented and unimaginable given the circumstances. The president fired him with the knowledge that, of course, we were investigating Russian contacts with his campaign. I mean, it just gave the aura of an obstructive effort."

Page would have probably just been another FBI lawyer if it wasn't for the extraordinarily politicized environment and a President who had a habit of attacking career government employees.

Posted by at December 1, 2019 9:58 PM

  

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