Judicial Watch: New Strzok-Page Emails Reveal DOJ Special Treatment to Clinton Lawyers
Discuss Destruction of Clinton Team Laptops
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 211 pages of emails between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that detail special accommodations given to the lawyers of Hillary Clinton and her aides during the FBI investigation of the Clinton email controversy.
The new emails include a discussion about negotiations with Beth Wilkinson, a lawyer for the Clinton aides who gathered and then deleted 33,000 emails for Hillary Clinton, over the destruction of laptops provided to the FBI.
The records were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to a December 4, 2017, FOIA request seeking communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice) No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Judicial Watch seeks:
- All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page;
- All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strzok;
- All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.
The FBI is only processing the records at a rate of 500 pages per month and have refused to process text messages. At this rate, the production of these communications won’t be completed for almost another two more years – in late 2021.
In an April 25, 2016, email from Strzok to FBI Agent Jonathan Moffa and other FBI officials, Strzok indicated that Wilkinson and Hillary Clinton lawyer David Kendall were set to meet the following day with FBI/DOJ in the Counterespionage Section of the FBI. Strzok tells his colleagues, “If you have strong objection (I do not other than finding out after the DD [Deputy Director]), we should raise it now.” Moffa replies, “It’s weird the DD [Andrew McCabe] is the first to know though. When did that become the norm?” Strzok replies, “Since the butthurt. I think there’s some passive aggressive stuff going on. Whatever.”
On May 11, 2016, Strzok submitted a “Wilkinson negotiation timeline” to Assistant Director for the Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap wherein he laid out unspecified “negotiations” that had taken place between FBI/DOJ and Wilkinson. Strzok noted that “We will have spent 34 days waiting for opposing counsel to make the initial step of any tangible offer, about which we have no idea of if it will be anywhere close to what we have been specific about (at least since the Mills interview, if not earlier by DoJ) wanting.” Mills refers to Cheryl Mills, a top Clinton State Department official who then served as Clinton’s private lawyer who led the Clinton email review and destruction.
In an April 8, 2016, email to FBI officials, Strzok outlines questions for the FBI’s upcoming interviews of Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson “concerning their post-State employment.” Strzok then forwards the email on to Page, Moffa and other unidentified persons, indicating that the questions were prepared “in anticipation of potential need for further discussion between the FBI and DOJ on the analysis of attorney-client and attorney work product privileges and protections.”
Heather Samuelson, the Clinton lawyer who deleted the 33,000 Clinton emails and was one of several Obama-era State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides who were ordered by Judge Lamberth to provide answers under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions about the Benghazi and Clinton email scandals. Ms. Samuelson testified last year that the Justice Department also gave her immunity.
On March 22, 2016, Strzok writes in an email to Priestap, “[Redacted] indicated he feels a need (and I agreed) to respond to Beth [Wilkinson] quickly about taking possession of the laptops. She is fine to provide them to be destroyed, but not to store them.”
On April 13, 2016, Strzok emailed Priestap and expressed concern about “the content of that Baker-Wilkinson contact,” apparently referring to a phone call between FBI General Counsel James Baker and Wilkinson. Strzok told Priestap, “To the extent you can ask what Jim’s contact was and ask that the investigative team be kept abreast of contact with our DOJ counterparts, I would greatly appreciate it.” Strzok forwarded the note to Page, saying, “You still think I don’t have reason to be angry?”
On April 1, 2016, Strzok forwards to Priestap, FBI Counterintelligence Division official Robert Jones, Moffa and some unidentified FBI officials a Politico report discussing the highly unusual legal strategy of Wilkinson simultaneously representing four of Hillary Clinton’s top aides in the email scandal.
On March 23, 2016, Page emails Strzok at 8:39 p.m. with the subject line “God, I’m in such a bad mood” and said, “I really just hate everyone. Especially DOJ. ??????”
Strzok replies: “God me too! I’m trying to figure out why I’m in a foul mood, I think it’s DoJ plus prospect of packing and travel and late night all for bullsh*t meeting postponed and [redacted] and wondering how Bill’s feeling. Got a weird too many people to coordinate I’m punting to [redacted] message earlier this morning. Why are you cranky? This stuff? The UC media provisions? Why did you end up staying up so late? And hi. The only saving grace is the glorious moon tonight.”
Page responds: “Just everything. Fighting with doj and internally on uc policy (it’s back up to DD – I don’t want to hear about it). [Redacted] I need an office closer to Andy, I need to clean my office, I need to write my PAR. [Redacted]. Just proposed to Andy [McCabe] that we have a pre-meet on Friday. Think we need it plus it will give us an opportunity to skinny down the room if he thinks it’s too big.”
Strzok replies: “Babe, that stinks across the board. I don’t have an easy answer for you on the hours. If you can’t get out before 7 on a day he isn’t there, well, you’re going to have to give somewhere. You definitely do need an office closer. Andy needs to do that. There are at least 5 people I can think of who easily can go. … Going to bed soon [redacted] United managed to f*ck up seat assignments when they split the locator record, so that’s nice [redacted].”
In her reply, Page discusses a meeting that would take place between DOJ and FBI officials concerning the Hillary Clinton investigation, writing, “I texted Andy pre-meet, he agreed, I called [redacted] to ensure it gets on the calendar. I don’t care what Mike and Bill think, you’re going to be there. I also talked to [redacted] about skinnying up the room – right now we’ll have ELEVEN, which is retarded.”
Strzok responds: “If it’s any consolation, I think doj will have 5 plus one on speaker phone.”
In a March 28, 2016, email from Page to Strzok with the subject line “god, I’m frustrated,” Page appears to refer back to the large FBI/DOJ meeting at which Beth Wilkinson asserted a privilege over the Clinton’s lawyers sorting and deleting of Clinton’s emails. Page writes Strzok, “And I’m sorry, it is not obvious to me that the sort is opinion work product. It should have been conducted by State department records managers, and you wouldn’t even be in this position to be talking about privilege. And to be clear, some opinion work product materials ‘do not warrant heightened protection because, despite revelations they contain as attorney’s though processes, lawyer has no justifiable expectation that mental impressions revealed by materials will remain private.’” Page ends the email saying, I AM IRRITATED.”
Strzok responds: “Hi. I am irritated too, but mostly exhausted; I’m sure you’re more so after the morning you had. I’m glad you made it to the meeting – was worried you might not. Obviously want to talk about your impressions of the whole thing.”
On March 29, 2016, Strzok forwarded to officials in the FBI General Counsel’s office as well as to Deputy Assistant Director in the Counterintelligence Division Jonathan Moffa an article from The Hill headlined “Second judge opens door to depositions in Clinton email case” discussing Judge Royce Lamberth opening the door to Judicial Watch to take depositions from government officials in Judicial Watch’s Benghazi talking points lawsuit. Strzok’s comment in his cover email is redacted, as is the response from the General Counsel’s office, under deliberative process.
On May 19, 2016, Strzok forwarded to Priestap a New York Times article discussing a deposition taken by Judicial Watch of State Department official Lewis Lukens regarding Clinton’s email case, and Strzok cut-and-pasted in particular comments by Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton concerning the impact of Lukens’s testimony.
A paragraph from the article which Strzok pasted in the email read: “But Mr. Fitton predicted that once the testimony is publicly released — perhaps as early as next week — it would show ‘why the State Department and Mrs. Clinton have slow-rolled this and withheld a complete explanation of what went on with her email system…’” Strzok acknowledges Lukens “plays a minor role but appears in an email discussing setting up a computer on Mahogany row where she could access private email which was seized upon by some outside.” Strzok writes “we have interviewed his boss Stephen Mull and REDACTED both of which had greater involvement.” (Judicial Watch also deposed Amb. Mull.)
“It is quite apparent why the FBI is slow-rolling the release of these Strzok-Page emails – as they dramatically show how senior officials at the Obama DOJ and FBI gave special and favorable treatment to Clinton and her lawyers,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “As the Obama Justice Department and FBI bent over backwards to protect Hillary Clinton, these agencies broke every law under the sun to spy on her political opponent, Donald J. Trump. AG Barr and Director Wray must stop the stonewalling about this corruption and reopen the Clinton email investigation.”
In November 2019, Judicial Watch made public records of communications between Strzok and Page showing that Wilkinson was given a meeting with Baker and McCabe. Also, Judicial Watch uncovered records revealing that, after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement denying the transmission of classified information over her unsecure email system, former FBI official Peter Strzok sent an email to FBI officials citing “three [Clinton email] chains” containing (C) [classified] portion marks in front of paragraphs.”
In June 2019, Judicial Watch received records from the Department of Justice that show FBI top officials scrambling to write a letter to Congress to supplement then-Director James Comey’s Senate testimony in an apparent attempt to muddle his message.
In a related case, Judicial Watch uncovered 277 pages of redacted records that show the FBI failed to produce information from an August 2015 meeting with the Intelligence Community Inspector General about Hillary Clinton’s email server. The FBI claimed that notes are “missing” and the CD containing notes from the meeting is likely “damaged” irreparably.
Also in June 2019, Judicial Watch released emails of Strzok and Page that show then-FBI General Counsel James Baker instructing FBI officials to expedite the release of FBI investigative material to Kendall, in August 2016. Kendall and the FBI’s top lawyer discussed specifically quickly obtaining the “302” report of the FBI/DOJ interview of Clinton.
In February 2019, Judicial Watch uncovered records from the Department of Justice that include emails documenting an evident cover-up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Judicial Watch also received records from the U.S. Department of Justice revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues. The documents also further describe a previously reported quid pro quo from the Obama State Department offering the FBI more legal attaché positions if it would downgrade a redaction in an email found during the Hillary Clinton email investigation “from classified to something else.”