Ex-FBI lawyer breaks her si­lence af­ter Trump’s ‘de­grad­ing stunt’

The Guardian - - World - Martin Pen­gelly

Donald Trump’s “de­mean­ing fake or­gasm” was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” and made Lisa Page de­ter­mined to speak out, the former FBI lawyer has said, break­ing her si­lence in a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view with the Daily Beast.

Page told the web­site: “It had been so hard not to de­fend my­self, to let peo­ple who hate me con­trol the nar­ra­tive. I de­cided to take my power back.”

She left the FBI in May 2018 amid con­tro­versy, driven by Trump, over her role in the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion and an ex­tra­mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ship she had with the bureau agent Peter Str­zok, who went on to work for special coun­sel Robert Mueller. Str­zok was fired in Au­gust 2018.

At a rally in Min­nesota in Oc­to­ber, Trump read from mes­sages be­tween Page and Str­zok, from Au­gust 2016, three months be­fore that year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Ap­par­ently pre­tend­ing to have an or­gasm, the pres­i­dent said: “I love you, Peter! I love you too Lisa! Lisa, I love you. Lisa, Lisa, oh God, I love you, Lisa.

“And if [Trump’s ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton] doesn’t win, Lisa, we’ve got an in­sur­ance pol­icy, Lisa! We’ll get that son of a bitch out.”

The mes­sages were made pub­lic dur­ing Mueller’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In one fa­mous ex­change, Page asked: “[Trump’s] not ever go­ing to be­come pres­i­dent, right? Right?!” Str­zok replied: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

Trump sup­port­ers im­me­di­ately

seized on the mes­sages as ev­i­dence of sup­posed bias against the pres­i­dent. But while the “deep state” con­spir­acy the­ory holds that a per­ma­nent gov­ern­ment of bu­reau­crats and in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tives ex­ists to thwart Trump, one of its first pro­po­nents, the former White House strate­gist Steve Bannon, has said that the idea is “for nut­cases”.

Be­ing the subject of sus­tained pres­i­den­tial in­vec­tive, Page said, was “like be­ing punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stom­ach when I re­alise 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.”

Re­fer­ring to a tweet sent by Trump four days be­fore the in­ter­view, she said: “When [Trump’s ad­viser] Roger Stone got con­victed, he asked: why isn’t Page in jail too? Not to men­tion, you know, his truly rep­re­hen­si­ble, de­grad­ing stunt at his rally, in which he used my name to sim­u­late an or­gasm.”

Like most of Washington – and the pres­i­dent – Page, who is now in pri­vate prac­tice, is await­ing the pub­li­ca­tion on 9 December of a report by the jus­tice depart­ment in­spec­tor gen­eral into Trump’s claim that the FBI spied on his 2016 cam­paign. She is ex­pected to be ex­on­er­ated of act­ing un­pro­fes­sion­ally or with bias against Trump.

▲ Lisa Page’s pri­vate mes­sages were read out by the US pres­i­dent at a rally

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.