Moments ago, Trump tweeted this:
NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2018
Oh, Lord. What is Fox feeding him now?
Newly revealed text messages between FBI paramours Peter Strzok and Lisa Page include an exchange about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, who wanted “to know everything we’re doing.”
The message, from Page to Strzok, was among thousands of texts between the lovers reviewed by Fox News. The pair both worked at one point for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Page wrote to Strzok on Sept. 2, 2016, about prepping Comey because “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.” According to a newly released Senate report, this text raises questions about Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email investigation.
In texts previously revealed, Strzok and Page have shown their disdain for Republicans in general, as well as Trump, calling him a “f—ing idiot,” among other insults.
Among the newly disclosed texts, Strzok also calls Virginians who voted against then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife for a state Senate seat “ignorant hillbillys.” (sic)
That text came from Strzok to Page on Nov. 4, 2015, the day after Jill McCabe lost a hotly contested Virginia state Senate election. Strzok said of the result, “Disappointing, but look at the district map. Loudon is being gentrified, but it’s still largely ignorant hillbillys. Good for her for running, but curious if she’s energized or never again.”
So…. as far as I can tell, Obama was asking Comey for a briefing about what the FBI was working on. This is sinister HOW? Oh, right. Obama.
Oh… and this….
Fox News had a report on the texts starting around 11:03 this AM
Meanwhile, the official White House schedule said POTUS was getting his intel briefing at 11, https://t.co/Y7AIuU49ge
— Tierney Sneed (@Tierney_Megan) February 7, 2018
This tweet was sent at 11:10AM. According to Trump’s official schedule, his daily intelligence briefing began at 11:00AM. Perhaps it was especially brief today. https://t.co/ZaRgHKe9Dp
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) February 7, 2018
Here’s Fox’s breathless coverage — probably what Trump was looking at.
Think Progress points out the obvious problem:
There is just one problem: The entire Fox News story is a fraud.
It’s simply not a plausible interpretation of the September 2, 2016 text exchange that Obama was seeking a briefing on the Clinton email investigation.
FBI Director James Comey closed the Clinton email investigation on July 5, 2016. It was not reopened until October. The same trove of text messages released Tuesday reveals that the FBI did not even become aware of additional emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop until September 28, 2016.
Fox News suggests the texts were referring to talking points regarding the Clinton email case. But those talking points, according to documents released by the Senate, were completed in June. That makes sense because they were prepared in advance of Comey’s announcement in July.
So what was Obama interested in? Most likely, he wanted information about the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, which was active on September 2, 2016. Obama has publicly said that he confronted Putin about election interference a few days later at the Group of 20 meeting in China, telling the Russian leader to “cut it out.”
“[I]t has to be about the Russia probe,” former Department of Justice official Matthew Miller told ThinkProgress in reference to the September 2, 2016 texts.There was nothing inappropriate about Obama seeking a briefing on the Russia investigation. “[S]ince the Russia investigation was a counterintelligence, not a criminal, investigation at that time, it was totally appropriate for Obama to be briefed,” Miller said. “The Department of Justice is allowed to brief and coordinate with the White House on national security matters, including terrorism and espionage.”
Don’t hold your breath for Fox News to correct this false report. It will likely be presented to millions of viewers tonight on primetime television. But that does not make it true.
The person advancing this false report is Senator Ron Johnson, who recently claimed he had evidence of a “secret society” in the FBI and then quickly backtracked.
I guess Trump is trying to detract from the whole failed Nunes memo thing. I’m sure we will hear more.