Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for text messages and other records of FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)).
Judicial Watch filed suit after the Justice Department failed to respond to a December 4, 2017, FOIA request for:
- All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strozk and FBI attorney Lisa Page;
- All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strozk;
- All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.
The time frame for the requested records is February 1, 2015 to the present.
The text messages are of public interest because Strzok and Page were key investigators in the Clinton email and Trump Russia collusion investigations. Strzok was reportedly removed from the Mueller investigative team in August and reassigned to a human resources position after it was discovered that he and a FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, who worked for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and with whom Strzok was carrying on an extramarital affair, exchanged pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages.
Strzok reportedly oversaw the FBI’s interviews of former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn; changed former FBI Director James Comey’s language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her illicit email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless;” played a lead role in the FBI’s interview of Clinton; and is suspected of being responsible for using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant in order to spy on President Trump’s campaign.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed in a letter dated January 20 that the FBI claimed it is unable to preserve text messages for a five-month period between December 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017, due to “misconfiguration issues” with FBI-issued phones used by Strzok and Page. The missing messages span dates between the presidential transition and the launch of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, where both Strzok and Page were employed.
The Strzok-Page text messages are potentially responsive to several pending Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits, but the FBI has yet to produce any of the records, explain the missing records to the courts, or otherwise be forthcoming about these newly disclosed materials.
“I don’t believe for one minute that the Strzok-Page texts are really missing,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The IRS told us that Lois Lerner’s emails were ‘missing,’ and we forced them to admit they existed and deliver them to us. The State Department hid the Clinton emails but our FOIA lawsuits famously blew open that cover-up. We fully intend to get the ‘missing’ Strzok and Page documents. And it is shameful the FBI and DOJ have been playing shell games with these smoking gun text messages. Frankly, FBI Director Wray needs to stop the stonewalling”