In an appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Ms. Page said the department failed her on two fronts — first by releasing her text messages with paramour Peter Strzok and then by not speaking out against attacks on her by President Trump and other Republicans.
“This is not how public servants should be treated,” Ms. Page said in her first TV interview, calling the text message release to the press particularly “my Justice Department betraying us.”
The messages not only indicated that she and Mr. Strzok were having an affair, but included several strong denunciations of Mr. Trump from both, including Mr. Strzok saying the investigation would serve as an “insurance policy.”
Republicans have leaped on the attacks on Mr. Trump as suggesting the investigation was a political hit job by partisan “Swamp” members.
“[I] served as a useful foil,” Ms. Page said.
“I know what it looks like when [the Justice Department] is trying to protect” its employees “and what it looks like when it isn’t,” she said. “Even if there is wrongdoing, these institutions should be coming to their defense” when politicians attack civil servants.
Ms. Page attributed the lack of protection from top Cabinet officials to politics.
“Attorney General [William] Barr could say something,” she said.
She had similar words for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding some of the claims made by Mr. Trump and elected Republican officials about the diplomats involved in the Ukraine fracas.
She also downplayed the content of the text messages, claiming that Mr. Strzok’s saying the investigation was an “insurance policy” didn’t mean the FBI wanted to use it to overthrow him.
The counterintelligence probe into whether Russia had compromising information on Mr. Trump or on people in his circle was about national-security risks, not necessarily crimes, she said.
“If Donald Trump is not elected” — the outcome Ms. Page considered far likelier than his winning — “the national security risk plummets” from the possibility Mr. Trump can be leaned on by a hostile government, she said.
“He’s not getting access to classified information” and would be less valuable to that foreign power, she said.
While Mr. Trump was thought likely to lose, “you can’t go forward on that basis,” she said, agreeing with Ms. Maddow’s analogy that people don’t expect to die at 40 but still take out insurance.
Still, in defending herself, Ms. Page betrayed a distaste for Mr. Trump that dated back to fall 2016 and the text messages with her adulterous partner, in another of which Mr. Strzok said “we” won’t let a Trump victory happen.
“We, the democratic people of this country, are not going to let this happen,” Ms. Page said.
Because it was an oral interview, it wasn’t clear whether she had said “we, the Democratic people,” declaring herself a partisan Democrat, or “we, the democratic people,” a slightly awkward way of saying “the population of a democracy.”
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