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Republicans may be headed into a dead end by focusing on ‘Insurance Policy’ text message

Republicans may be headed into a dead end by focusing on ‘Insurance Policy’ text message

Republicans Eye Andrew McCabe in the Trump probe, but obsessing on the “insurance policy” text message might be a mistake.

Top Republicans in Congress continue to scrutinize the anti-President Donald Trump texts between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The two officials were romantically involved and worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He kicked Strzok off the team over the summer due to these texts.

But a specific text caught the eye of the top Republicans. In this one, it mentions an “insurance policy” against Trump’s presidency and a man named Andy, which they have assumed means FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

The Text

Fox News reported:

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok texted on Aug. 15, 2016. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Some lawmakers surmise “Andy” is a reference to Andrew McCabe, and now want to know about his communications with Page and Strzok.

“This [text] is the one that concerns me the most,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, one day after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the Mueller probe in testimony before Goodlatte’s committee.

“Andy is presumably Andrew McCabe … and this text is very troubling because it suggests that they’re doing something, they have a plan to take action to make sure that Donald Trump does not get elected president of the United States at the highest levels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has also raised concerns about the text:

“Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an ‘insurance policy’ against a Trump presidency,” Grassley wrote Thursday. “Presumably, ‘Andy’ refers to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. So whatever was being discussed extended beyond just Page and Strzok at least to Mr. McCabe, who was involved in supervising both investigations.”

Grassley has requested that the DOJ turn over all documents and records related to that conversation along with “McCabe’s communications with Strzok and Page between Aug. 7 and Aug. 23, 2016” by December 27.

The DOJ wouldn’t comment on the text message, but said that Congress can interview Strzok.

Nothing Burger?

But are these texts blown out of proportion? It’s quite possible. Seth Mandel, the op-ed editor at The New York Post, pointed out an explanation on Twitter that gives reasonable doubt that this is a whole bunch of nothing.

Journalist Del Quentin Wilbur unleashed a tweet storm that reminded people Strzok and Page didn’t like a lot of people, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Chelsea Clinton.

A readout on there texts showed Wilbur that Strzok and Page had a concern about competence.

Here’s the major point:

Look. These agents are human, not robots. They have opinions, emotions, thoughts, etc.

Cause For Concern

However, we cannot discount the texts between Strzok and Page that showed a bias to failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Kemberlee blogged about these texts after they became public and she included the details provided by The New York Times (emphasis mine):

Senior F.B.I. officials who helped investigate Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign last year wrote in text messages that Hillary Clinton “just has to win” and described a potential Trump victory as “terrifying,” according to texts released Tuesday night.

A top counterintelligence agent, Peter Strzok, exchanged the messages with Lisa Page, a senior F.B.I. lawyer. Some messages criticized Mrs. Clinton’s team, the Obama administration, Congress and other Democrats. But the two appeared appalled at some of Mr. Trump’s comments during the campaign and feared that he would politicize the F.B.I.

For example, after Mr. Trump made an apparent sexual allusion related to the size of his hands, Ms. Page wrote: “This man cannot be president.” In another exchange, Mr. Strzok wrote of a potential Trump presidency, “I’m scared for our organization.” He also referred to Mr. Trump as a “douche.” The messages were turned over to Congress and obtained by The New York Times.

Page texted to Strzok on July 27: “She just has to win now. I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.” A few weeks before that tweet the FBI closed its investigation into Hillary’s private email server. Just a few days after she sent that text, the FBI began its investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Trump and Russia.

As The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board wrote, the texts “suggest that some FBI officials may have gone beyond antipathy to anti-Trump plotting.” The board also stresses that this is just the latest development that should trouble anyone about Mueller’s investigation, especially since the DOJ and FBI have shown reluctance to cooperate with Congress:

Public confidence isn’t helped by the continuing Justice and FBI refusal to cooperate with Congress. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises Mr. Mueller, toed the Mueller-FBI line on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee. He repeated FBI Director Christopher Wray’s preposterous excuse that he can’t answer questions because of an Inspector General probe. And he wouldn’t elaborate on the news that Nellie Ohr, the wife of senior Justice official Bruce Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, which hired Mr. Steele to gin up his dossier.

The man who should be most disturbed by all this is Mr. Mueller, who wants his evidence and conclusions to be credible with the public. Evidence is building instead that some officials at the FBI—who have worked for him—may have interfered in an American presidential election. Congress needs to insist on its rights as a co-equal branch of government to discover the truth.


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CaliforniaJimbo | December 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I don’t know if the “insurance policy” will ever be revealed or discovered. What makes the phrase (and the context) interesting is when one considers intent. Remember Director Comey said that Hillary Clinton did not have intent (or intent has not been established depending on how you read his testimony). Like when a person has a folder on their computer with damning evidence called life insurance, this message may show intent on the part of Agent Strzok to alter the outcome of both the Clinton investigation and the interview of LTG Flynn.
I’m also concerned that the FBI’s top CI agent would actually believe:
1. Telephone SMS texts are secure and cannot be traced
2. Having an affair is prime Kompromat (in the Russian world); shouldn’t he be a bit more circumspect?

President Trump cannot fire (or direct to have fired) Robert Mueller. While legally he can instruct his DAG Mr. Rosenstein to do so; doing so would begin the political process of impeachment in the US House of Representatives. President Trump’s prudent move is to let this circus collapse under its own weight. Possible outcomes include (in no particular order):
1. Robert Mueller has legitimate charges that are passed on to the house for impeachment
2. Robert Mueller has more process crimes but never seems to get to POTUS
3. Robert Mueller gets desperate and makes wild accusations which cause many but the most die hard political junkies to discount the investigation.

I suspect the President is hoping for #3 and will settle for #2.
All I want is the truth. Who did what (President, Secretary Clinton, various staff members, FBI, NSA, CIA) and if laws were broken, I want justice. Whomever it leads to.

WHAT!!!! This material doesn’t make it a nothingburger, this makes it much worse.

When I read messages between creepazoinds who hate lots of people but love a criminal like Hillary, AND read that they might fancy themselves ultimate protectors of the Republic, I think of one thing …

… and it ain’t nothingburgers.

I won’t type it because it would set off the NSA’s auto-snoops, but go ahead, take a guess …

Sounds like a whole lot of excuse making by DQW. A lot of “they work so hard and care so much how can you think they might be overt partisan hacks?” He may be attributing higher motivation in these people than is actually warranted.

While they are entitled to their personal opinions in their roles they have the need to always retain a strong sense of objectivity and clearly the texters failed in that.

    There will be an official explanation for everything, and every explanation will be accepted by 80% of Republicans, including those in the DOJ and FBI.
So it turns out that FBI agents, like the rest of us, have opinions. These 2 criticized Bernie Sanders, Eric Holder, Chelsea Clinton, Donald Trump. So what? Real news is their privacy is being violated their texts used to undermine Mueller.

… I guess Max Boot forgot that Herr Mueller [horses whinny] thought these messages were enough to remove Strzok from the investigation. To say that these messages shouldn’t matter is to undermine the judgement of Herr Mueller [horses whinny].

    Neo in reply to Neo. | December 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Oh, yeah. I forgot. I checked. These were government owned cell phones, so like millions of Americans who have their business cell phone activity monitored by their employer, there was no privacy to violate. We are their employer with FOIA to grant us access to what they text each other.

      Security by obscurity. They may *know* their cell messages *can* be tracked, but they get good and comfortable in there and start thinking “There’s millions of phones. Nobody will ever look at mine.” For crying out loud, he was chatting with the woman he was having an *affair* with over the phone. You don’t do that if you think you’ll be caught.

    Neo in reply to Neo. | December 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Ontario v. Quon, 560 U.S. 746 (2010)

    RobM in reply to Neo. | December 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Neo, I’d proffer that Mueller removed these two from his team for much more than what we’re being told. I’m thinking it was these texts that have been leaked, but I’m thinking the IG uncovered much more. I think that’s why the IG did the unimaginable… the IG leaked personal texts to two news organizations. That deserves significant weight. Pressure is being applied. I love it.

      Rick in reply to RobM. | December 15, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      And the IG will release his report, maybe, in the spring?

        Neo in reply to Rick. | December 15, 2017 at 9:32 pm

        During an appearance on Fox News yesterday, the South Carolina Republican ‘predicted,’ that McCabe will be fired by the time he is scheduled to appear in front of the House next week.

        “I’ll be a little bit surprised if he is still an employee of the FBI this time next week,” Gowdy told Fox News when asked his thoughts on McCabe’s upcoming hearing.

      Neo in reply to RobM. | December 15, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Then wrap your mind around this tweet …
      This April text from Page to Strzok raises a whole new host of question for FBI: “So, look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced …. ” How many people at FBI did that?

      I did hear about some ‘burner phone’ in all of the noise, but it was never clear where it fit in.

What happened, as best we can tell now – John Podesta used DNC money to pay Fusion to pay Steele to come up with the Dossier. Steele produced a marvelous work of fiction, giving his clients what they wanted, and filling it with juicy but unverifiable stories. (he was also sloppy, and put in quite a few things that were easily refuted, such as the supposed visit of Trump’s lawyer to Prague)

Then, Steele colluded with Ohr’s wife (who was employed by Fusion at the time) to get this dossier into the American political race, with the sensitive details discussed over the unmonitored Ham Radio connection she had set up. She gave the Dossier to her husband Bruce Ohr in the DOJ, and he gave it both to his superiors and to Strzok and McCabe in the FBI. (and it’s likely that Comey was in on this, too) Strzok was then the pointman who took the Dossier to the FISA court, presenting it as “trusted”, and using it as an avenue to open a covert investigation into everyone who was part of the Trump Campaign, the hope being that this surveillance would turn up something truly indictable.

And this covert operation, backed by Comey, McCabe, and the Obama DOJ, is now what has become the Mueller investigation.

And THIS was the insurance policy.

“…Strzok and Page had a concern about competence.”

Well OK then, maybe we won’t hang them. Where do we find such arrogant and presumptuous people? A couple of FBI agents who think they’re Batman and Robin and a journalist who thinks he writes for the Daily Planet.

As Chief Executive Trump has the power to order everyone in Justice and the FBI to comply with every congressional subpoena and promptly or face firing. Trump also has the power to waive the rule of maintaining silence because a matter is under investigation. He could also require all claims of privilege to be first submitted to White House lawyers for the purpose of possibly waiving them too. Congressional Republicans are trying to help Trump. He could make their jobs faster and easier. Putting some of the top guys at Justice and the FBI under the threat of being fired for insubordination has a certain appeal.

    Cleetus in reply to faboutlaws. | December 16, 2017 at 5:14 am

    Yes, Trump could do all sorts of things, but every time he tries to do what is legally allowed, the Left becomes unglued. I think Trump is playing a much smarter game and that he knows the longer this investigation goes on the more it becomes tainted with more issues like what’s being discussed today and less and less is found on Trump. Eventually, this investigation will collapse under its own weight and Trump, not having anything to do with this, will add to his image of being on a more legitimate level.
    Also, what this investigation is doing is slowly evolving into a justification into an investigation of Hillary Clinton, Uranium One, the Clinton Foundation, and so forth. By staying out of the mess he lends credence to this gradual change and when the real investigation kicks off, Trump can legitimately claim to merely being an observer. I predict that by tax day we are going to be riveted to a completely different narrative coming out of Washington involving Hillary and company and Trump knows this.

There is also the conversation about using special phones to talk about Hillary because they are untraceable.

The messages are questionable: let’s have some answers.

“Republicans Eye Andrew McCabe in the Trump probe, but obsessing on the “insurance policy” text message might be a mistake.”
Can you explain why it would be a mistake? I think Mueller kicked Strzok off of his team because he found out what the “Insurance” policy was. I think once he found out what the policy was he knew that if it ever came out that the FBI would take a huge hit. I do not believe Mueller is corrupt but has become a bureaucrat because of his living in DC for so long. To most of the DC/swamp critters, they do not see each other as the other side but as fellow intelligencia. Sunshine is the antiseptic that is needed here, not more secrets.

What an odd article, especially coming from a site who’s masthead is Legal Insurrection. Peculiar.

We have FBI agents conspiring to overturn a presidential election. If we truly believe in the rule of law, we have a duty and an obligation to discover exactly what this “insurance policy” was.

Your interest should be in PROVING it’s a nothing burger via investigation, not throwing cold water on starting such an investigation.

So this makes Mueller the “adjuster”!

Subotai Bahadur | December 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Long term, the Republicans ARE heading into a dead end. Not because of focusing on McCabe, but because the GOPe are ankle-deep [in head first] in the attempted coup. If it succeeds, the Democrats will no longer need them and they will end up kneeling beside a ditch. If it fails, there are a lot of conservatives who are going to want payback.

“Look. These agents are human, not robots.”

They may not be robots, but they are not human. They are corrupt pieces of S**T.

This is like some kind of bad soap opera…

Peter and Lisa, FBI crusaders by day…Lovers by night…

These two were essentially spending the day, “texting pillow talk”
I can just imagine their night time, post boinking conversations…
“Hope we can stop Trump, pokie”…”We will, poo bear”…”Kiss Me”!!!

But according to the “journalist”, Del Quentin Wilber, they didn’t like a lot of people. Of course they didn’t like anybody,Del…they had each other!!!

It’s hilarious to think Peter and Lisa were worried about the competence of other people!