Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “legal pit bull” Andrew Weissmann shared his thoughts on MSNBC Monday about former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and her decision to “break her silence” about the Russia investigation.
“Lisa Page has done nothing wrong,” Weissmann declared. “She has a First Amendment right to speak, even as a federal employee.”
Page gave her first interview to Molly Jong Fast in the Daily Beast over the weekend, casting herself as a victim unfairly maligned by President Trump and his supporters.
“It’s almost impossible to describe,” she told Jong Fast “It’s like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. 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 left Mueller’s team in July of 2017, the same month DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz discovered her anti-Trump text messages with her then-paramour FBI special agent Peter Strzok while they were working on the Clinton email investigation (Midyear Exam) and Trump/Russia investigation (Crossfire Hurricane). Fired FBI Director James Comey announced in July of 2016 that the FBI concluded that Clinton had violated State Dept. policies but had not broken any laws (after granting her accomplices sweetheart immunity deals for nothing in return.)
The June 2018 IG report on the Midyear Exam found that Page and Strzok’s behavior during both investigations were “indicative of a biased state of mind” and even more seriously, implied “a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” Horowitz wrote that the lovebirds’ antics were “antithetical to the core values of the FBI.”
Nonetheless, Page played the victim card for all it was worth during her interview with the Daily Beast, asserting her innocence “of any crime at all.”
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.
CNN on Monday went so far as to characterize Page as the “ex-FBI lawyer targeted by Trump,” rather than one of the bad actors at the FBI who maliciously targeted Trump based on Democrat opposition research during an election year.
Enter Andrew Weissmann—the former lead investigator for Robert Mueller’s special counsel and now an MSNBC legal analyst—to amplify Page’s sob story.
“People have affairs and it usually doesn’t play out on the front page of a newspaper, and it certainly doesn’t play out with the President of the United States,” Weissmann argued. He went on to echo Page’s narrative that she did nothing wrong,
“On the legal aspect, I think there’s a very important issue here — a disservice has been done here to the public,” he added.
Lisa Page has done nothing wrong. She has a First Amendment right to speak, even as a federal employee. And so it’s really a fiction to think that jurors, judges, federal employees don’t have political views. The issue is whether they act on them. People act on principle all the time. Jurors do it, judges do it, federal prosecutors do it. And it’s simply not the case to think that personal views are going to affect what a prosecutor does.
Andrew Weissman claims "Lisa Page has done nothing wrong"
Page was fired from Mueller's team
The last IG report found she and Strzok's behavior was "antithetical to the core values of the FBI" when they vowed to stop @realDonaldTrump
What will the next one find? ???? pic.twitter.com/Ev0JdoffM0
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) December 2, 2019
That’s right. The ethically-challenged leader of the “13 angry Democrats” who conducted a two- year scorched earth investigation into the president and his associates in an effort to overturn the 2016 election, says people with political opinions “act on principle,” while investigating political opponents.
It’s worth noting that the inspector general had a different view in his 2018 report, saying that the lovebirds’ indiscretions most likely violated FBI regulations and “demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism.”
“We do not question that the FBI employees who sent these messages are entitled to their own political views,” Horowitz wrote. “However, we believe using FBI devices to send the messages discussed in Chapter Twelve—particularly the messages that intermix work-related discussions with political commentary—potentially implicate provisions in the FBI’s Offense Code and Penalty Guidelines.”
At a minimum, we found that the employees’ use of FBI systems and devices to send the identified messages demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism. We therefore refer this information to the FBI for its handling and consideration of whether the messages sent by the five employees listed above violated the FBI’s Offense Code of Conduct.
The long-awaited IG report on the FBI and DOJ’s conduct during the Trump/ Russia investigation is due to be released next week and early leaks indicate that it will stop short of concluding that the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation was improperly predicated. However, there will be at least one referral for criminal prosecution.
A lawyer who has been identified as Kevin Clinesmith was referred for criminal prosecution by Horowitz for altering “an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap”—also known as the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) renewal—on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the NY Times reported two weeks ago.
According to a Washington Post report Monday night, Attorney General William Barr “has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report — that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Barr’s spokeswoman Kerri Kupec put out a statement later Monday night, praising Horowitz’ “excellent work,” and saying that he “uncovered significant information.”