Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s interview isn’t about clawing back the dignity Donald Trump’s insults have denied her – it’s damage control before a likely damning DOJ report about the agency’s Russian collusion investigation.
In an interview published late Sunday in the Daily Beast, Page claimed that Trump’s “demeaning fake orgasm” enacted during an October rally in Minneapolis – and not Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s FBI misconduct investigation, to be made public in a week – prompted her to break a two-year silence.
Page tweeted the link to her Daily Beast interview Sunday night with a warning: “I’m done being quiet.” The interview cast Page as another victim of Trump’s “bullying,” which she described as “very intimidating” – the exact same phrase uttered by former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in her testimony during the congressional impeachment hearings.
“It’s like being punched in the gut,” Page said. “My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”
Page’s remarks also echoed Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings: “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” Page lamented.
The word-for-word refrains are the trademarks of a concerted PR campaign choreographed by the anti-Trump establishment. The tired script features Trump as an unrestrained monster, who in every scene tries to intimidate his opponents, especially women. Trump is a misogynist, who therefore must also be a criminal and a traitor.
Page complained of the toll that Trump’s endless ridicule has taken on her:
“Like, when somebody makes eye contact with me on the Metro, I kind of wince, wondering if it’s because they recognize me, or are they just scanning the train like people do? It’s immediately a question of friend or foe? Or if I’m walking down the street or shopping and there’s somebody wearing Trump gear or a MAGA hat, I’ll walk the other way or try to put some distance between us because I’m not looking for conflict. Really, what I wanted most in this world is my life back.”
As if anyone would dare to wear a MAGA hat anywhere in urban America – other than among thousands of Trump fans attending a rally. As if Page is likely to meet a real “foe” of the permanent bureaucracy in the heart of Washington, DC.
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Meanwhile, if Page sought to hide from attention, she sure picked a strange way to do it. News of her interview, in which she complained about getting way too much exposure, was carried by all the major media. It remained at the top of the Google News listings all day on Monday.
The purpose of Page’s timely interview was – as Page herself admitted in the interview – to “control the narrative.”
Page has been at the heart of controversy surrounding the Trump presidency ever since scandalous text messages between her and former FBI head of counterintelligence Peter Strzok exposed the couple’s extramarital affair and their mutual disdain for Trump and support for Hillary Clinton. The emails were reportedly sent to an FBI official by Strzok’s two-timed wife.
In one exchange concerning the presidential race, an apparently alarmed Page texted Strzok and asked if Trump had any chance of becoming president. Strzok answered: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” In another, Strzok alludes to an “insurance policy” against the unlikelihood of a Trump victory. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has claimed the insurance policy was the potential for the FBI to hack into the Trump campaign’s emails.
Page and Strzok worked on the FBI’s initial investigation into ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2016 election. At the same time, Strzok led a botched investigation, on which Page also worked, into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s hacked private email server. Page and Strzok later worked together on the Special Counsel Robert Mueller team investigating unsubstantiated Trump ‘collusion’ with Russia. Page resigned and Strzok was fired when their partisan rancor and intimate relationship were revealed.
Will the public swallow this couple of smug plotters in their new role as stoic patriots? The Democratic establishment already has. Expect the furious media spinning to continue when the report is released next week.
By Michael Rectenwald, author of nine books, including the most recent, Google Archipelago. He was Professor of Liberal Arts at NYU from 2008 through 2019.