LIKE STRZOK AND PAGE, PRIESTAP TRANSCRIPTS REDACTS DATES, PLACES OF FOREIGN TRAVEL
by Sharon Rondeau
During the closed-door interview conducted six months before Priestap retired, he said on several occasions that he avoided travel for family reasons but that he approved such travel for others under his supervision on roughly a weekly basis.
On page 77, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH4) asked Priestap about text messages exchanged between Strzok, who was one of his immediate subordinates, and Page, who was not in his chain of command, referring to travel outside of the country. On page 78, references are made to May 2016, although the redactions prevent the reader from making a firm conclusion as to when Priestap’s rare travel outside of the United States occurred.
On page 79, Priestap said his travel was for the purpose of meeting with “a foreign government partner.”
During the course of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation into the Trump campaign, assumed from the operation Priestap testified to that day, among others, several House Republicans claimed that the FBI’s investigation, which Mueller assumed in May 2017, began much earlier than the official date of July 31, 2016 the FBI has provided.
The focus of both the FBI and Mueller’s team was to determine whether or not anyone from the campaign “colluded” with Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the presidential election.
Earlier in his interview, Priestap had stated that he never witnessed, nor would have tolerated, political influence from affecting an investigation under his purview.
Strzok and Page are no longer with the Bureau, and approximately two dozen other high-ranking FBI officials have resigned or been fired since Trump took office in January 2017.
In scores of tweets over the last 6-9 months, former Trump campaign foreign-policy advisor George Papadopoulos has stated that the FBI in 2016 deployed officials to the UK and other places in Europe, where Papadopoulos was working at the time, to infiltrate the Trump campaign on several fronts.
In September 2017, Papadopoulos accepted a “guilty” plea for lying to the FBI about the timing of his meeting with Maltese Prof. Joseph Mifsud, to whom Papadopoulos claims the government of Italy is presently providing sanctuary.
Papadopoulos has additionally stated that the governments of Australia, Italy, and the UK were involved in attempting to sabotage the Trump campaign. He has specifically drawn connections between approaches he said were made to him in London by unknown individuals and the presence of at least one FBI official allegedly in London at one of those times.
On March 22, Mueller delivered his report to the Justice Department, which reported two days later in a summary that Mueller’s probe found no evidence of collusion between anyone in the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Unconvinced, House Democrats are demanding to see Mueller’s full report, parts of which are protected by federal law. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved a subpoena for the entire report and all of its underlying documentation.