The newly declassified texts from disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok show the agency began investigating President Donald Trump before they opened Crossfire Hurricane.

Another set of texts show that the FBI spied on a call between an executive at Fox News and former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.

Investigation Timeline Blown Apart

The FBI said it opened Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016. But a text between Strzok and his alleged mistress Lisa Page makes it appear the investigation began before that date.

Strzok also mentioned that dossier author Christopher Steele was probably the source of the Yahoo! article detailing Carter Page’s visit to Moscow:

“Looking at the Yahoo article, I would definitely say at a minimum Steele’s reports should be viewed as intended to influence as well as to inform,” Strzok wrote on Sept. 23, 2016.

Strzok, who was fired from the FBI in August 2018, was referring to a report from Yahoo! News about Page’s visit to Moscow in July 2016.

It would later be revealed that Christopher Steele was a source for the article, and that he had met with a handful of journalists in Washington, D.C. as part of an opposition research campaign commissioned by the DNC and Clinton campaign.

The FBI kept its ties with Steele. The agency never told “the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that the ex-spy had contact with journalists.”

The FBI did not let him go until October 2016.

Strzok texts on January 9, 2017, disclosed that the FBI knew about an upcoming report from CNN based on former FBI Director James Comey’s meeting with Trump about the dossier:

Strzok’s messages also show that he and others at the FBI had inside information about CNN’s plans to publish a story about then-FBI Director James Comey’s briefing to Trump regarding allegations in the dossier.

“Story no longer Sciutto, now Evan Perez. Internal nervousness about nature of allegations,” Strzok wrote to Page on Jan. 9, 2017, referring to two CNN reporters.

“Also Carl Bernstein (yes that Carl) called OPA, said he got a ‘dossier’ from McCain.”

“Awesome,” Page replied. “Let Carl run it down then.”

CNN released the report on January 10, which led to Buzzfeed publishing the full dossier.

The FBI always insisted Crossfire Hurricane happened because Australian diplomat Alexander Downer said Papadopoulos claimed the Russian government would help the Trump campaign.” Strzok thought the advisor “would have information that would implicate Carter Page and Pauk Manafort.”

More from The Daily Caller:

Strzok did not explain why he thought those two Trump aides would have knowledge about collusion with Russia, but the theory is likely derived from the Steele dossier. In the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele alleged that Page worked at the direction of Manafort on a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Kremlin.

“I think our anticipation is he has visibility into a conversation about the Russian offer of help (and I’d be willing to bet if he talks, he fingers Page or Manafort),” Strzok wrote to Jennifer Boone, a deputy assistant director, the messages show.

Strzok wrote to Jonathan Moffa, a supervisory special agent, that he wanted to find out about Papadopoulos’s “demeanor” in the FBI interview.

“If he’s willing to work with us against either of them, I’ll reconsider.”

Spying on Papadopoulos and Fox Exec

What didn’t the FBI do in this investigation?

An unnamed person sent a text to Strzok about a call between Papadopoulos and an unnamed vice president at Fox News despite never having a warrant to tape Papadopoulos:

The FBI used the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, as a legal pretext to investigate and spy on Papadopoulos, as well as former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and former Trump affiliate Carter Page.

“I know you’re not point on this anymore, but [George Papadopoulos] got a call from the VP at Fox News yesterday, who advised that the government was conducting ‘checks’ on him a few months back,” an unidentified individual whose name is redacted in the report texted to Strzok on January 12, 2017. “I haven’t listed to the exact audio, but I’m guess[ing] that’s the FARA checks that we did with DOJ on our 4 main guys; especially given the article that you pushed yesterday.”

The Federalist explained the FBI and President Barack Obama could get around not having a warrant with a National Security Letter:

By using a National Security Letter, a demand sent to telecommunications firms to provide communications information about a specific federal target, Obama’s DOJ and FBI were able to avoid legal requirements to receive a court-approved warrant to secretly spy on an American citizen.

 

 
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