Page, of course, is the former FBI lawyer whose text-message exchanges with agent Peter Strzok that belittled Donald Trump and expressed fear at his possible victory became international news. They were hijacked by Trump to fuel his “deep state” conspiracy.
…”The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”
“But it’s also very intimidating because he’s still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he’s still somebody in a position to actually do something about that. To try to further destroy my life. It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me.”
…At the end of July 2016, Page finds herself transitioning from one investigation, the Hillary Clinton email inquiry, to another, the Russian government disinformation probe. Trump is not under investigation, but the FBI is trying to determine if someone associated with his campaign is working with Russia.
“We were very deliberate and conservative about who we first opened on because we recognized how sensitive a situation it was,” Page says. “So the prospect that we were spying on the campaign or even investigating candidate Trump himself is just false. That’s not what we were doing.”
…In 2017, Flores said that the Justice Department inspector general approved the release of the texts to congressional committees, and that DOJ then provided those texts to reporters who cover the agency after they started to leak out. “As we understand now, some members of the media had already received copies of the texts before that—but those disclosures were not authorized by the department,” Flores said then.
DOJ declined to comment.
…“It’s very painful to see to places like the FBI and the Department of Justice that represent so much of what is excellent about this country, not fulfilling the critical obligation that they have to speak truth to power,” she tells me. “The thing about the FBI that is so extraordinary is that it is made up of a group of men and women whose every instinct is to run toward the fight. It’s in the fiber of everybody there. It’s the lifeblood. So it’s particularly devastating to be betrayed by an organization I still care about so deeply. And it’s crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it’s abandoned its principles of truth and independence.”
…The era of Trump populism always had an ugly edge, particularly toward women. Trump revels in bringing misery to his opponents and will always seek out and exploit any weakness. Page “wasn’t nice to him,” and so in his eyes she can be endlessly targeted and assaulted.
It’s tempting to describe this as just part of Trump’s deep, baked-in misogyny and sociopathy, but in Page’s case it’s worse; it’s a sign of how deeply he’s corrupted the government to serve his will and his whims. His apologists have become part of Trump’s own squad of witch-hunters, hunting fantasies like “Ukrainian interference” while attacking the people who tried to protect us from Russian attacks.