For the first time since her text messages with former FBI agent Peter Strzok were revealed in 2017, former bureau attorney Lisa Page publicly addressed the criticism she’s faced from President Trump and his supporters in an interview with the Daily Beast published on Sunday.
The 2016 text exchanges between Strzok and Page, who were romantically involved at the time, fueled allegations that the FBI probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives was tainted by political bias. Strzok referred to Trump as “a f***ing idiot” in one message to Page, and when Page expressed concern that Trump would win the election, Strzok responded “No, he wont. We’ll stop it.”
Page denied allegations of political partisanship in the interview and explained how her life has been disrupted by Trump’s constant Twitter attacks.
“I don’t engage in any sort of partisan politicking at all,” Page said in her interview. “I know I’m a federal employee, but I retain my First Amendment rights. So I’m really not all that worried about [the IG report].”
Page also recounted how she took the news when Trump fired then-FBI director James Comey. Comey had overseen the investigation into the Trump campaign as well as the 2016 probe into the Clinton email scandal, in which then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was found to have used a private server to read thousands of classified government emails while serving as secretary of state.
“It was horrible,” Page said of the firing. “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.”
The Trump administration gave conflicting reasons for Comey’s firing. On May 9, 2017, the White House said Trump’s decision was based on a memo from then-deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein that criticized Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigations. However, Trump said in an interview on May 11 that he had planned on firing Comey before receiving Rosenstein’s memo, partly because Comey refused to publicly exonerate him of colluding with the Russians despite telling him privately that he was not personally implicated in the probe.
“The president fired him with the knowledge that, of course, we were investigating Russian contacts with his campaign,” Page continued. “I mean, it just gave the aura of an obstructive effort.”
The Mueller Report eventually found insufficient evidence to charge the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russians to swing the election. The Justice Department Inspector General report on possible abuses by the FBI during the agency’s investigation of the Trump campaign is set for release on December 9.