The drama surrounding the Russia investigation and the text messages is heating up. If I was Peter Strzok I would not be sleeping to well right about now.

New text messages purportedly reveal that the highly questionable FBI official Peter Strzok was reluctant about joining Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe team because of his “gut sense” there would be “no big there there.”

Strzok and FBI colleague, and mistress, Lisa Page, who were romantically involved, are under fire for trading anti-Trump messages during the 2016 race.

(Related: Over 50,000 texts exchanged between FBI officials Strzok and Page, AG Sessions says)

But Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who has received 384 pages of new text messages between them, issued a string of messages Tuesday seemingly showing that Strzok wrestled with whether to join the Mueller probe amid doubts about the accusations.

Sen. Johnson first discussed the messages during a Tuesday radio interview.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), accompanied by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), speaks during a press conference about their resistance to the so-called "Skinny Repeal" of the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC123BAD31B0
Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Ron Johnson, R-Wis., released new text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.  (AP)

“It indicates they’re considering joining the Mueller special counsel investigation,” Johnson said on “The Jay Weber Show” on Fox News Radio affiliate WISN. “… He doesn’t really want to join that because his gut sense is there’s no big there there. I think that’s kind of shocking.”

In the raw texts issued by Johnson’s office, Strzok wrote: “you and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”

The full context of the texts is not completely clear. But if they are really discussing the Mueller investigation, Strzok also wrote that it could be “in the history books” and “maybe the most important case of our lives” — and later mentioned an “investigation leading to Impeachment?”

Page appeared to advise against joining. The texts also noted the FBI lovers effusively praising each other, with Strzok seemingly standing in awe of Page’s “passion and curiosity.”

(Related: Memo Spreading: GOP Senators Ask to View Explosive Fisa Abuse Document)

Both Strzok and Page later assisted on Mueller’s team for a short period of time, with Page heading back to the FBI over the summer and Strzok being reassigned to the bureau’s Human Resources division after revelations of the messages.

The Strzok text that Johnson distributed was sent on May 19, 2017—just two days after Mueller’s appointment to the special counsel. The text also came after a five-month gap in records for the Strzok-Page messages.

The hundreds of pages of text messages Johnson’s committee received last week did not include communications between Strzok and Page from Dec. 14, 2016 through May 17, 2017—a crucial time period spanning everything from the Trump transition to the appointment of Mueller.

“The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page from December 14, 2016 to approximately May 17, 2017,” Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd wrote to Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on Friday explaining the lapse in Strzok-Page records.

“The FBI has informed [the Department of Justice] that many FBI-provided Samsung 5 mobile devices did not capture or store text messages due to misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”

the texts
Texts between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on May 19, 2017.  (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)

The five-month gap in text messages has raised concerns among congressional investigators.

(Related: CNN Has Tweeted About Russia Over ONE THOUSAND Times Since Trump’s Inauguration)

“The loss of records from this period is concerning because it is apparent from other records that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page communicated frequently about the investigation,” Senator Johnson wrote over the weekend to FBI Director Christopher Wray, requesting more information on whether the FBI had done a thorough search on non-FBI devices belonging to Strzok and Page during that period.

 

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