The former FBI agent and FBI lawyer, whose notorious affair was a memorable subplot of the Mueller era, has sued Donald Trump, and now may be allowed to question him under oath.
Donald Trump Has More Drama
How well you remember the names of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and in what context, may depend on how well you remember the Robert Mueller investigation, and how closely you read Donald Trump’s Twitter feed during his presidency.
Strzok was an FBI agent, and Page was an FBI attorney. Both were part of the initial FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and both were part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the early days of his investigation.
The two had an affair, beginning in 2016, and exchanged hundreds of text messages, many of them critical of Trump, which later came to light, as they had been sent on the pair’s government-issued devices.
This got them removed from Mueller’s team, while Strzok was fired from the FBI in 2018, while Page also departed the bureau that year. Both later sued the FBI, claiming they were the target of unfair retribution.
One text from Strzok to Page, in 2016, had said “we’ll stop it,” in reference to the idea of Trump winning the 2016 election.
Strzok and Page then became key figures in conspiracy theories related to the FBI and the Mueller investigation, with Trump calling them “the lovebirds” and referring to Page as “the lovely Lisa Page,” numerous times.
There was even a play, called “FBI Lovebirds,” that was staged in Washington and consisted of actors Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson reading and reciting Strzok and Page’s text messages verbatim. Politico called it “Hamilton for the MAGA Crowd.”
Now, according to the Washington Post, a judge has ordered that both Donald Trump and FBI Director Christopher Wray can be questioned under oath by Strzok and Page’s attorneys.
Strzok is claiming he was wrongfully terminated and has demanded reinstatement and back pay from the FBI. Page claims her privacy was violated when the text messages were publicly released.
Strzok also claimed in his lawsuit that Trump only objected to political speech by FBI employees when it was in opposition to him and that it was a frequent occurrence for FBI officials to criticize Hillary Clinton. Strzok had also been part of the probe that looked into the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server.
He called his firing the “direct result of unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies on Capitol Hill.”
“The Court authorized the plaintiffs to conduct depositions of each witness that do not exceed two hours and are limited to the narrow set of topics specified,” Judge Amy Herman Jackson said in a court notice, quoted by the Post.
Trump has until March 24 to “decide whether to invoke executive privilege” in the matter.
It’s a familiar refrain from past legal proceedings involving Donald Trump and those close to him, who have often spent months or even years fighting attempts to get them to testify.
The ruling in the Strzok and Page suits comes shortly after attorneys for men belonging to the Proud Boys sought to subpoena Trump to testify in their ongoing seditious conspiracy trial, in connection with their actions in the January 6 insurrection.
However, it’s considered a longshot that the former president will actually appear in court in that case.
In the case of Page and Strzok, Trump had spoken in an interview earlier this month with radio host Hugh Hewitt about how proud he was of having fired them.
“If I didn’t fire Comey, and if I didn’t fire McCabe and Strzok and Page and all of that scum that was in there, you would have had, they were trying to do an overthrow,” the ex-president said on the show.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.