The New York Times (Matt Appuzzo & Adam Goldman) published an article yesterday citing a pending DOJ Inspector General Horowitz report that points the finger at former Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe for leaking information to the media.
Citing four people familiar with the IG inquiry, the motive for the New York Times is transparent. The “small group” of DOJ/FBI officials are trying to head-off the disturbing aspect to the IG outline and spin a false narrative. However, our earlier research into the text messaging of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, in combination with the leak in question to former Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett, allows us to see through the narrative.
The unnamed officials within the back-story, clouded by the verbiage in both the New York Times recent article and the Washington Post follow-up, are all ‘small group’ members: FBI Asst Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, FBI Attorney Lisa Page, FBI Chief of Staff Jim Rybicki and FBI Public Relations Director Mike Kortan.
Prior reporting showed Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe -along with the entire small group- became aware of the Clinton emails on the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner laptop on September 28th, 2016. Attempting to protect Hillary Clinton, text messages showed McCabe and crew withheld that information for several weeks until October 28, 2016, when congress was notified and a public statement was made by Mike Kortan and FBI Director James Comey.
♦On January 25th, 2018, Senator Chuck Grassley released a series of text messages between Page and Strzok (full pdf here). Within the release there is a portion of messaging where Lisa Page is identified on the phone with “Devlin” (see page #5 – screen grab below):
[Peter Strzok is ‘INBOX’ and Lisa Page is “OUTBOX’]
The “Devlin” in question is former Wall Street Journal National Security reporter Devlin Barrett, currently with The Washington Post. In the above cited text message exchange Lisa Page is on the phone with Devlin Barrett when the news of the Abedin/Weiner laptop Clinton emails was released. “Mike’s phone is on fire” is referencing former FBI Public Affairs Director, Michael “Mike” Kortan.
♦Simultaneous to this October 2016 timeline there was internal “small group” discussion about another controversial issue; the need for Andrew McCabe to recuse himself from the financial investigation of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
FBI Chief of Staff James “Jim” Rybicki held the opinion that McCabe should recuse; however, taking that action may have compromised McCabe’s ability to protect Hillary Clinton. Lisa Page was the legal counsel to McCabe during these events and discussions, and didn’t see the need for a recusal or change of prior plans.
On October 23rd, 2016, Devlin Barrett again reported on a scoop:
“Scoop: McAuliffe PAC gave $467,500 to campaign of wife of senior FBI official who oversaw Clinton email probe” (link)
This October 23rd, 2016, “scoop” aligns with the internal text messaging discussion between Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Attorney Lisa Page who were discussing James Comey’s chief-of-staff James Rybicki recommending that FBI Asst. Director Andrew “Andy” McCabe should be recused from the Hillary Clinton investigation.
From the messaging the recusal was discussed mid-through-late October 2016:
00:52am …”if it’s a matter similar to those we’ve been talking about lately”…
The sourcing for the exclusive report by Devlin Barrett contained great details about the internal discussion on the controversy of Andrew McCabe and his financial connections to Clinton/McAuliffe. The leaks for the story were provided by Lisa Page and Peter Strzok:
“Article is out, but hidden behind paywall so can’t read it,” Page texted Strzok on Oct. 24, 2016.
“Wsj? Boy that was fast,” Strzok texted back, using the initials of the famed financial newspaper. “Should I ‘find’ it and tell the team?” (link)
According to the New York Times article yesterday: […] “The inspector general has concluded that Mr. McCabe authorized F.B.I. officials to provide information for that article, according to the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the report before it is published. The public affairs office had arranged a phone call to discuss the case, the people said. Mr. McCabe, as deputy director, had the authority to engage the news media.”
Again, the October 2016 “public affairs office” was Michael “Mike” Kortan. The New York Times is asserting that IG Horowitz will show the ‘small group’, McCabe, Kortan, Page and Strzok, coordinated for the leak of information to the Wall Street Journal.
Worth noting – Mike Kortan is the same FBI official who released the recent unauthorized FBI statement about the Nunes memo: “grave concerns about material omissions of fact” etc. A few days later Kortan was advised to resign by current FBI Director Christopher Wray.