FBI debated in 2016 how aggressively to probe Trump campaign

Getty Images

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Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arriveIing for her House Judiciary Committee deposition.

Page exchanged thousands of text messages with her lover and then-top FBI agent Peter Strzok about the investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Trump 2016 campaign.

Mr. Strzok also disputed the meaning of the now-infamous text exchange where Ms. Page anxious Mr. Trump would become president and he replied "No".

The Strzok testimony, which is from June 2018, is creating a buzz on social media and appears to offer more insight into the FBI's activities during the 2016 presidential election season.

Hillary Clinton was not a target, witness, subject or suspect during the investigation into her storage and sending of classified emails on her home server, fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok told Congress a year ago, according to transcripts released Thursday.

President Trump called out Justice Department over its possible mishandling of the email investigation in a tweet Wednesday.

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Rep. Doug Collins, Georgia Republican, inserted the transcripts into the Congressional Record during a floor speech, defying a Justice Department that he felt was moving too slowly to clear the information for public consumption.

"No he won't. We'll stop it", Strzok replied.

Asked in general terms whether he had "ever been part of the FBI's efforts to infiltrate a US political campaign" or "been part of an effort to put a spy in a USA political campaign", Strzok said no.

According to Lisa Page's testimony, the Federal Bureau of Investigation considered charging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with gross negligence under 18 U.S. Code § 793 for her alleged handling of classified information. He said under oath the FBI investigative team unanimously believed Clinton shouldn't be prosecuted. Strzok said he made the counterargument, that if Trump won and people alleged to be involved in nefarious activity were put in national security positions, "we might need to protect America by finding out whether these allegations are accurate or not and making sure that the government, President Trump in that case, was making special - or appropriate decisions".

Page went on to suggest that the Obama-era Justice Department urged them away from that idea, saying charging Clinton on that statute was "constitutionally vague and not sustainable".

He said he didn't recall specifically writing it, but says he now thinks the "we" he was talking about was the country at large.

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