By Karen O’Connor Rubsam and Dave Van Zandt
Recently released text messages between Lisa Page, a lawyer for the FBI, and Peter Strzok, former deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, seem to contradict statements made by President Obama regarding his involvement in the Hillary Clinton text message investigation and testimony that former FBI Director has made in his Congressional testimony. In an April 10, 2016 interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, President Obama “guaranteed” he would not be involved in the investigation whereas the text messages seem to indicate that, in September 2016, the FBI was preparing a briefing for President Obama on the matter. A report released today by Senator Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, specified that “Director Comey stated that he had not consulted with the Justice Department or White House.” Further, a report from the Wall Street Journal citing associates of Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page said that exchange referred to the president’s wanting information on Russia election meddling, which the FBI was heavily involved in over that period. That exchange occurred just days before Mr. Obama met Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in China. Mr. Obama said in December 2016 that he had addressed the issue of tampering with the election process with Mr. Putin at that September meeting.
President Obama’s discussion with Chris Wallace starts at about the 10:55 minute mark of the interview.
WALLACE: Mr. President, when you say what you’ve just said, when Josh Earnest said, as he did — your spokesman — in January, the information from the Justice Department is she’s not a target, some people I think are worried whether or not — the decision whether or not, how to handle the case, will be made on political grounds, not legal grounds. Can you guarantee to the American people, can you direct the Justice Department to say, “Hillary Clinton will be treated — as the evidence goes, she will not be in any way protected.”
OBAMA: I can guarantee that. And I can guarantee that, not because I give Attorney General Lynch a directive that is institutionally how we have always operated. I do not talk to the Attorney General about pending investigations. I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations. We have a strict line, and always have maintained it, previous president.
WALLACE: So, just to button this up –
OBAMA: I guarantee it.
WALLACE: You –
OBAMA: I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case.
WALLACE: And she will be –
OBAMA: Full stop. Period.
WALLACE: And she will be treated no different –
OBAMA: Guaranteed. Full stop. Nobody gets treated differently when it comes to the Justice Department, because nobody is above the law.
WALLACE: Even if she ends up as the Democratic nominee?
OBAMA: How many times do I have to say it, Chris? Guaranteed
The text messages, however, reveal an exchange on September 2, 2016 between Page and Strzok which seems to indicate that Page is working with Comey to prepare a brief for President Obama on an issue. It is unknown what issue the text messages are referring to. At one point (shown on page 356 of the 502 page Appendix C – Documents) , Page writes “Yes, bc potus wants to know everything we are doing.”
This is a developing story and more information is needed.
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Looks like those texts are about the Russia investigation: