By Agence France-Presse
A former FBI lawyer, who was mocked by President Donald Trump over private texts with her FBI lover concerning politics and the Russia investigation, sued the Justice Department and FBI for privacy violations Tuesday.
Lisa Page, whose relationship with FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok became a lurid sideshow of the Russian collusion investigation of Trump, accused the two agencies of unlawfully disclosing 375 text messages between her and Strzok during the 2016 election.
At the time Strzok was deeply involved and Page more peripherally involved in the overlapping investigations of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a personal computer server, and of Russian election interference designed to support Republican Trump.
When they were released, the text messages — a mix of pillow talk, office politics, and comments on the candidates — were cited by Trump as evidence that the Russian collusion investigation focused was politically motivated.
The Justice Department inspector general found no political bias in two separate investigations reviewing the FBI and the 2016 election.
“I sued the Department of Justice and FBI today. I take little joy in having done so. But what they did in leaking my messages to the press was not only wrong, it was illegal,” Page said in a tweeted statement.
She said the texts were in the possession of the inspector general when they were leaked to the media in December 2017.
The leakers sought “to promote the false narrative that plaintiff (Page) and others at the FBI were biased against President Trump, had conspired to undermine him, and otherwise had engaged in allegedly criminal acts, including treason,” the lawsuit said.
The leak turned Page “into a subject of frequent attacks by the president of the United States, as well as his allies and supporters,” it said.
Page noted that Trump has tweeted about her over 40 times and mentioned her publicly dozens of times, branding she and Strzok “the FBI lovers.”
In an October political rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Trump recounted the texts in a mocking erotic tone, making fun of Page.
In an interview with The Daily Beast on December 5, she said that speech deeply angered her.
“Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she said.
“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.”
In her lawsuit, Page said the text messages were leaked to counter negative news on Trump related to the Russia investigation and to ingratiate senior Justice officials with the president.
Page, who resigned from her high-level FBI job in May 2018, said the Justice Department and the FBI had violated the US Privacy Act.
She asked the court for at least $1,000 in damages, citing reputational harm, the cost of therapy, and attorney’s fees arising from her having to testify in various investigations, as well as the cost of trying to protect her private information.