FBI agent Peter Strzok testified Thursday before the U.S. House that the Office of the Inspector General allowed him to decide which of his text messages with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page he would turn over to investigators — and which he would withhold.
The text messages are central to the question over whether the FBI was motivated by political bias in recommending against the prosecution of Hillary Clinton, and pursuing as-yet-unproven claims of Russian collusion with President Donald Trump.
In one text message, Strzok vowed to Page that the FBI would “stop” Trump from becoming president. Other text messages discussed impeaching Trump. On several occasions, Strzok disparaged Trump supporters.
Yet there may have been other texts.
Stroke admitted to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that he had not, in fact, turned over all of his text messages to the Inspector General, and that he had been allowed to determine which ones had “material that was relevant to FBI business”:
Rep. Goodlatte: Now, you and Ms. Page used personal phones and accounts to communicate. Have you turned over those communications to the Inspector General?
Strzok: No, sir.
Rep. Goodlatte: If not, why not?
Strzok: Sir, they asked, and working with my attorney, the Inspector General and I arranged an agreement where I would go through my personal accounts and identify any material that was relevant to FBI business and turn it over. It was reviewed. There was none. And my understanding the inspector general was satisfied with that action.
Rep. Goodlatte: We know from texts that you and Ms. Page would transition to iMessage and Gmail. Who determined that messages were only personal in nature and not business-related, especially since you’ve just testified at length that a number of the communications that you have made on government communications devices were personal in nature?
Strzok: Sir, the broad, broad context of what I used personal email and phones for was personal communication. For those things that were work-related, almost universally that material was translated into FBI systems. Certainly, if it was anything that was a record or would constitute needing to be there, it was provided. But I made that decision.
During the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, it emerged that she and her attorneys had been permitted to go through the emails on her server and determine which were work-related and had to be turned over to the government after she left. They were allowed to do so, even though some of the emails contained classified materials, and her attorneys lacked the necessary security clearance to see them. The emails on Clinton’s server were subsequently destroyed, as were other devices containing the emails.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.