FBI officials exhibited “elements” of a “palace coup meant to disrupt” President Donald Trump both before and after the 2016 presidential election, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said during an interview on Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”
“These are the elements of a palace coup that was underway to disrupt President Trump, both before and after his election,” Gaetz told McCallum. “And I suspect there will be multiple inquiries.”
The FBI admitted last week that it had “failed to preserve” text messages from two anti-Trump FBI employees during a five-month period. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) told Fox News on Monday that new text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page showed Strzok implying that a “secret society” of anti-Trump federal agents attempted to prevent Trump from becoming president.
Gaetz urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to get to the bottom of the controversy and “restore confidence” in the FBI.
Gaetz said more than 20 members of the House Judiciary Committee sent Sessions a letter demanding the installation of a second special counsel to investigate the bias claims. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Wednesday found 49 percent of likely U.S. voters believe another special counsel should be created to investigate potential bias in the FBI in the handling of its Trump probe and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server use. Just 31 percent rejected the idea of a second special counsel.
“I’m hopeful that the attorney general will act on that immediately so that we can restore confidence in the FBI on behalf of the countless men and women on the front lines working hard who I believe have been betrayed by leadership,” Gaetz said.
The Florida congressman expressed his concerns about the FBI’s “conflicting information” when dealing with the texts exchanged between Strzok and Page.
“But the key information, Martha, is that on December 13 of 2017 we had Mr. [Michael] Horowitz, the inspector general for [the Department of Justice], actually send a letter to Senator Ron Johnson saying that they had these text messages all the way through the month of June. So that would include the five-month period that the FBI says they don’t have these text messages for,” Gaetz said.
“So we’ve got conflicting information. Are the texts truly lost or does the inspector general have them? That’s what Congress needs to find out immediately,” he continued. “Conflicting information demands answers. We also need to correct conflicting information.”
Gaetz also urged the House Intelligence Committee to release the four-page memo written by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, (R-Calif.), detailing surveillance abuses targeting the Trump campaign during the Obama administration.
“Democrats have actually boycotted a review of this memo,” Gaetz said. “I think it would be good for every member of Congress to read it and then for us to have a public vote to release this memo to the American people so that everyone can see what was really going on at the FBI.”
As for reports claiming that Trump would refuse to authorize the memo’s public release, Gaetz called them “categorically false.”
“I have every confidence [Trump] would allow it to enter the public square. Because when you pair memo — which I have read — with the purported missing five months of text messages, the overlay of the timeline is very interesting and tells quite a story,” Gaetz said.