Text messages referenced in Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report detailing the FBI’s abuses of the FISA court between “Spygate” figures indicated they considered using a personal connection between an FBI employee and a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff to perpetuate the unsubstantiated probe into alleged collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia.
The messages were exchanged between then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and then-FBI attorney Lisa Page, who were reported to have been seeing each other romantically.
The detail was buried in a footnote three sentences long — numbered “480” — on page 344 of Horowitz’s previously released 467-page report on the Russian collusion probe, official known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”
One section of the report reveals how former FBI Director James Comey’s bureau gave unclassified “counterintelligence awareness” briefings to the transition teams of the 2016 Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns. One brief was given to then-VP nominee Mike Pence on Sept. 9, 2016.
The texts between Strzok and Page mentioned in the footnote suggest that the Crossfire Hurricane team consider using a Pence employee for potential exploitation.
“We identified text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page from November 2016 suggesting the FBI may have considered using a connection between a then member of Pence’s staff and an FBI employee in some manner to further the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” the footnote reads.
“We asked SSA1 about this. He said that he had been told of the connection but did not personally know the FBI employee, and that he did not change his approach to Pence’s FBI security briefing because of the connection,” the footnote continued; SSA1 refers to a senior member of the Crossfire Hurricane team.
“He also said he could not recall any discussions about using the connection to further the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we did not find any evidence that it was used,” the footnote concludes.
The finding comes on the heels of an admission by current FBI Director Christopher Wray that a significant portion of the FBI’s ‘Spygate’ probe was illegal.