Before Rand Paul Went to Moscow, He Was in a White House Meeting Discussing Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, and Andrew McCabe

Peter Strzok filed what is billed as a motion for clarification of Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s order last week requiring that Strzok’s deposition of FBI Director Chris Wray take place before Strzok’s deposition of Trump.

In part, it is a fact check, laying out all the ways that DOJ seems to have panicked after (and because) Strzok scheduled a deposition with the former President on May 24.

In part, it seems to be an effort to pre-empt DOJ’s threat to file for a writ of mandamus against ABJ because she permitted these depositions. For example, Strzok’s lawyers describe how much easier it was to schedule time with the unemployed former President than with the FBI Director. Under the Apex doctrine that DOJ claims to be adhering to, that should mean that Wray’s deposition should come after Trump’s (and indeed, that’s effectively what DOJ seemed to argue last year).

More interesting, though, are notes Strzok included to establish a need to depose Trump regardless of what Wray says, both taken by John Kelly when he was Chief of Staff.

According to Kelly’s own transcription, this February 21, 2018 note reads:

Potus, AG, Don McGahn

  • Deep state issues
  • Investigations
  • Firing love birds


  • Trust?

This note establishes that pressure to fire Strzok and Page may have bypassed Wray. McCabe was fired weeks later.

More curious still, however, is this note:

Kelly transcribed the July 23, 2018 note this way:

Potus, Rand Paul +2

Security clearances

*add Page, McCabe, Stroch (sic)

For some reason, a week after Trump submitted to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16 and 15 days before Paul would carry a letter from Trump to Putin expressing an interest in remaining besties, Paul was in a meeting discussing the FBI officials Trump had a vendetta against (who also happen to be Russian experts).

Days after Paul returned from Moscow, the FBI fired Strzok.

Update: Per Rand’s Twitter account, he met with Trump to discuss revoking John Brennan’s security clearance that day.

30 replies
  1. Donnab47 says:

    Thank you for reminding us of something I never saw in MSM: all the folks DJT targeted were Russia experts. Seems important, no?

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      It was there. It just got buried in the rest of the noise at that time. And the MSM didn’t tend to foreground that aspect of those who were targeted.

  2. Rugger_9 says:

    It’s yet another example of how pervasive the Russian kompromat is for the GOP. This is one of the risks that RoJo’s declaration that ‘inferring’ is just like real objective evidence created for the GOP as well as being blatantly unconstitutional and ridiculous.

    Will KY do something about their Putin-loving Senators? What does Faux say about this?

    • Norskeflamthrower says:

      The real question is: “Will a little KY do something FOR their Putin-loving Senators?”

      • Carolyn1 says:

        I think thats a forgone conclusion. They’ve been greasing each other up forever.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your third user name since July 2022; you’ve used “CarolynB” and “Carolyn B” since then. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  3. Rugger_9 says:

    OT but in a Putin-machination way it’s related: According to several reports Wagner honcho Prigozhin offered to give Bakhmut back to the Ukraine if Ukraine would pull back (I guess to disengage) but the UA (and the US, apparently) suspected it was a trick. After all, if the UA did pull back Wagner would rush in and claim victory. The key point for me is that Putin didn’t find a window or send some tea or a Stalin bust or something as a lovely parting gift. It makes me think that the idea was to trick the UA into leaving since Prigozhin’s noisy sellout would normally be a death sentence.

    But if one considers this as a more real offer (Wagner is getting slaughtered and rumored to be running out of troops) it does highlight a problem with mercenaries that price drives loyalty, not politics. The rates might go up significantly when considering the political factor, but that’s what mercs do: make money from fighting. Going way out on a limb here, I suspect Wagner wants out so they can handle their other more profitable contracts.

    • subtropolis says:

      According to what ‘reports’? Chatter on Telegram? Ranting on Russian propaganda shows? This has more than a whiff of rumor. (A pervasive scent during this, or any, conflict, really.)

      • HikaakiH says:

        Apparently WaPo story based on “leaked documents” with claim that two Ukraine officials confirmed that Prigozhin made the offer more than once.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Agree with subtropolis about scuttlebutt, but then again Putin has shown little willingness to let rumors gain traction unless it suits him. We’ll see, and FWIW the Ukrainians didn’t go for it anyway.

        • subtropolis says:

          Mea culpa! I’ve only just learned that this came from one of the documents leaked by that Naval Reserve psychopath. In that case i am more than willing to believe it.* At least, as much as US Intel did.

          I’ve seen quite a lot of rumors during this conflict. Many seem to be repeating this or that remark or speculation of some other random person online. Hence my skepticism. Your response to my reply was very gracious.

          * There was quite a lot of speculation, when the story about the docs came out, that it was Russian disinfo, because of the altered figures for both Russian and Ukrainian casualties. But it seems clear to me that those alterations were made by one of Teixeira’s online colleagues. Other than that kind of obvious change i have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the information in the docs.

        • subtropolis says:

          Gah! I can’t even correct myself properly. Thanks!

          (I’m reading a book right now regarding US Navy cryptological efforts during WWII.)

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          On Daily Beast today, from the Washington Post:
          “Wagner Boss Offered to Sell Out Russian Troops to Ukraine, Report Says”

          “Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin repeatedly offered to reveal the positions of Russian troops to Ukraine’s federal intelligence agency, according to leaked documents obtained by The Washington Post.

          The leaks, originally published on Discord, reportedly indicate that the Wagner boss made the offer in late January. In exchange, Prigozhin asked that Ukraine withdraw its troops from the eastern city of Bakhmut, the report said.”

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          The key tell that this purported offer was a last ditch trick is that it was supposed to be made in January when everyone was expecting the Ukrainians to lose the city and Wagner still had troops left, Prigozhin had just started to complain about lack of ammo. The Ukrainians are anything but stupid. Now it looks like Ukraine left their troops in the city when they could have pulled ’em out in order to weaken Wagner and Russian federal forces and pull Russian troops from other parts of the front in preparation for the Spring offensive. And it has worked!

  4. BobBobCon says:

    I read Strzok’s motion here and it describes some of the communications with Trump’s team.

    I can imagine how Wray could have a lot of demands on his time, and prepping for a deposition could well take much longer on top the deposition, so scheduling could be hard.

    But is there any hint why Trump’s team would be so fine with the relatively quick timeline of 5/24? I’d think he’s busy playing golf or fundraising or dining with neonazis.

    • steve said so says:

      Team Trump never has a problem scheduling anything because they never are bound by the schedule they created.

  5. morganism says:

    Dmitry Firtash had a notice filed on him by Ukraine investigators for energy sector manipulation and hurting Ukraines economy? (twitter-Nexta) rumor?

  6. e.a. foster says:

    It would make sense for Trump to have the Russian experts fired. You just can’t have people who know the truth and back ground on the “team” when you’re selling something else entirely.

    Oh, to have a copy of the letter Rand carried and of course what discussions Rand had with the Russians.

    Sometimes timing is nothing and sometimes its everything.

    Looking forward to the next chapter of this saga. Perhaps it might even develop into its own “movie” with a nice ending of finding some of the players who were/are Republicans guilty of treason or some such violation

  7. oldtulsadude says:

    I wonder if the FBI firings were Trump offering the heads to Putin as a gift or if Putin orchestrated the firings as some kind of personal payback.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      I doubt DJT had the clarity of vision to orchestrate anything in that horrid 4 years. I’ll guess a large amount of the conducting came from the Kremlin and perhaps other power centers in the US and overseas.

  8. MsJennyMD says:

    I give thousands of interviews, and I’m probably about as open as anybody in Washington as far as access goes, so I’ll continue to do that.
    Rand Paul

    Laws don’t really restrain people. Ninety-eight percent of people follow a virtuous course with or without laws.
    Rand Paul

  9. greenbird says:

    glad i got my computer OS upgraded, but wish i could do it for my eyes.
    also glad to be catching up with dr. wheeler’s posts, and the comments that appear.
    now – where’d i put that box of genuine fudge … ?

  10. Norskeflamthrower says:

    The real question is: “Will a little KY do something FOR their Putin-loving Senators?”

  11. soundgood2 says:

    Could we all be missing the meta point in Durham’s brilliant analysis of the confirmation bias of the FBI? Durham’s entire analysis is an actual example of the confirmation bias he is alleging! He is merely showing us what confirmation bias looks like!

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