Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arrives for a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees, Friday, July 13, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Investigative journalist Lee Smith’s book, “The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in US History,” is a must-read for a lot of reasons — not least for how it details the role of the press in selling the idea of collusion, using documents such as the now discredited Steele dossier farmed out to them by Fusion GPS and the intelligence community itself, to the American people.
Each section contains nuggets of information that have never been covered in the mainstream press but that Smith writes about as if he’s got the proof. It’s a dense and, frankly, astonishing read.
But in light of some fresh statements from one of the main Crossfire Hurricane players, I’d like to concentrate on one particularly stunning revelation from the book: the assertion, taken directly from House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence then-Chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), that the “insurance policy” that FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page referenced in their texts was not simply the collusion investigation itself, but was something specific that remains (as best I can tell) classified.
In the book, on pg. 98 in a chapter called, “The Insurance Policy,” Nunes tells Lee that the policy was a specific thing that was done to ensure that the FISA warrant was granted. And that his committee knows what it is.
According to Nunes, the “insurance policy” that Strzok and Page texted about, the issue they’d discussed in McCabe’s office, was not simply the operation against Trump that they planned to roll into a coup in the event he was elected.
“It has a deeper meaning, it’s more specific than that,” [Nunes] says. “It’s what else they did to get the FISA, to ensure they got the warrant on Page. It’s as bad or worse as using the dossier. It’s another thing they hid as part of a counterintelligence investigation.”
What did they do? Nunes spreads his arms in the air. “Something we hope to have declassified. Something the American public should know about.”
Well…that sounds downright corrupt.
Since Smith’s book was published before DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report on FISA abuse, it’s tempting to think that what Nunes is referring to here is perhaps the information that came out later that a top lawyer at the DOJ changed the text of a key investigative document to conceal the fact that Carter Page, the subject of the warrant, was working for the US.
But this tweet from Nunes just before Horowitz’s report was released at the beginning of December seems to separate the two things.
The only information we need from IG Report today…Also do you think Horowitz gets to the bottom of the insurance policy? pic.twitter.com/tGccy5Gqce
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) December 9, 2019
“If the new story is true about the head lawyer doctoring evidence, that would be massive,” Nunes tells Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. And then, a few sentences later, he says this: “We also want to know if [Horowitz] got to the bottom of the insurance policy. We know what the insurance policy is, it’s something very specific, and we want to know if he got to the bottom of that.”
It doesn’t sound like they’re the same thing, and there’s been no statement from team Nunes that the insurance policy has finally been revealed.
Which makes the timing of a tweet from one former FBI lawyer Lisa Page on Saturday incredibly interesting:
There was no insurance policy.#2019in5words
— Lisa Page (@NatSecLisa) December 28, 2019
That sounds like the crisis communications trick of getting in front of a news story that’s about to break. However, it may not break for months, or whenever Durham finally completes his probe. Page, in the meantime, seems to feel supremely confident that with Horowitz’s report never revealing it, the insurance policy remains hidden and she is free to throw the very idea of such a thing down the memory hole.
If I were in her position, having watched the little plan I had a hand in hatching fall to pieces around me, ruining lives and careers, I don’t believe I could maintain the arrogance to be so bold.