Trump Tells WSJ That FBI Employees’ Critical Texts Were Treasonous

on January 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

President Donald Trump said Thursday that text messages critical of him shared by FBI employees amounted to treason, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Journal reporters interviewed Trump for 45 minutes, the paper reported, in a conversation that touched on everything from North Korea to Steve Bannon.

“A man is tweeting to his lover that if [Democrat Hillary Clinton] loses, we’ll essentially do the insurance policy,” Trump said. “We’ll go to phase two and we’ll get this guy out of office.”

“This is the FBI we’re talking about—that is treason,” he added. “That is a treasonous act. What he tweeted to his lover is a treasonous act.”

Trump was referring to text messages between Agent Peter Strzok — once a member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team — and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked briefly on Mueller’s team as well.

The paper referred to its earlier reporting that Strzok’s “insurance policy” comment was made in reference to the need for aggressiveness in the bureau’s probe of potential ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The Journal reported in December that the texts, uncovered as part of an internal Justice Department investigation, were critical of a number of political figures from both parties. 

Journal reporter Del Quentin Weber reported Strzok and Page’s responses, via statements from their lawyers:

Trump also told the Journal, referring to ousted FBI Director James Comey, that “everybody wanted Comey fired.”

“I should be given credit for having great insight,” he added.

The Journal broke the interview up between several articles, focusing respectively on Trump’s treason comment, North Korea (“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un.”), Steve Bannon (“Steve had nothing to do with my win, or certainly very little.”), and the congressional effort to reach a compromise to protect DACA recipients after Trump ended the program in September.

“They’ve been here a long time, they’re longer children…nevertheless I think we should do something,” he said of the latter effort.

This post has been updated.

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