Ex-FBI lawyer targeted by Trump breaks silence
Roughly two years after her anti-Donald Trump text messages were released to Congress and she became a public target of the President’s ire, Lisa Page said it’s time to break her silence.
The embattled former FBI lawyer resurfaced her Twitter account Sunday night, tweeting, “I’m done being quiet,” along with a link to a new interview with The Daily Beast. In that interview, Page called Trump’s attacks “sickening” and said she chose to speak out after the President did a lewd impression of her text exchanges with former FBI agent Peter Strzok, with whom she had an affair, during a Minnesota rally in October. The President has frequently criticized the series of texts in which Page and Strzok disparaged the then-presidential candidate. On Monday, Trump again attacked Page, suggesting in a tweet that she go back and read a text exchange she had with Strzok.
“I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she said. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”
She added: “It’s like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again,” she said. “The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”
Page’s comments come ahead of the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on FBI surveillance during its early investigation into Russia 2016 election interference that is due on December 9. Page and Strzok were also involved in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information and served on the special counsel’s team. Strzok was dismissed from Robert Mueller’s team once the text messages were uncovered by internal investigations. Page resigned after the text messages were discovered.
CNN previously reported the report is expected to say the Russia probe was properly launched in summer 2016 but lower-level employees made a series of mistakes. Page said she expects it will show that she acted professionally without bias against the President.
“While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people,” Page said. “The President has a very loud megaphone.”
“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.”
A previous IG investigation last year looked into Page’s controversial texts with Strzok. That report concluded that their messages “cast a cloud” over the Clinton email investigation, which they both handled, but that they did not let their political views affect their decision-making in the investigation.
In 2018, Page spoke to lawmakers behind closed doors about the text messages. Republican lawmakers praised her testimony, calling her a “very credible witness.” Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who has since stopped supporting Trump, praised Page on Monday for speaking out.
“There’s many people that are still in the President’s web who feel the exact same way as Lisa Page. I applaud Lisa Page for doing that,” Scaramucci told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.” “But I also understand why she didn’t do it sooner because it is intimidating until it’s not intimidating.”
CNN’s Marshall Cohen and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.