Justice Department Spokeswoman Mocks CNN’s Chris Cuomo

Sarah Isgur Flores said the 'New Day' anchor 'should understand why' Americans are 'disturbed' by Strzok-Page texts

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 25 Jan 2018 at 2:34 PM

Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores mocked CNN anchor Chris Cuomo Thursday for his “unproductive line of questioning” when he badgered her about the existence of an FBI “secret society.”

Cuomo asked Flores about a text message exchanged between two anti-Trump and pro-Clinton FBI employees that referred to a “secret society.” When Cuomo repeatedly asked Flores if GOP lawmakers were spreading unjustified doubts about the FBI, she said he “should understand why” Americans are “disturbed” by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s thousands of text messages.

"Chris, what [the lawmakers] believe is that we have a lot of text messages that a lot of Americans are disturbed by, including Americans in Congress," Flores said on CNN's "New Day." "And I think you should understand why they are. You've seen a lot of them, too."

Cuomo began his questioning by asking, "Secret society in the FBI — true or false?"

"Back in December, we released about 375 text messages. This last Friday we provided Congress with an additional 400 pages," Flores replied. "And again, I think a lot of Americans who saw that initial release of text messages were very disturbed by what they saw, and understandably so."

Flores said that the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General is investigating the Strzok-Page text messages, telling Cuomo that they could "discuss that further" after the report is released.

But Cuomo pressed further, asking Flores if she had seen "any proof of a secret or shadow organization within the FBI that is trying to undermine justice in the administration thereof?"

"Well, I'm not a member of any secret society," Flores replied. "The first rule of secret societies is you don't talk about secret societies."

When Cuomo continued pressing, Flores said, "Chris, it is clear that I'm saying that we're going to wait for the inspector general report, who actually has interviewed people, has all the text messages, has been doing their job for months now," Flores said.

"I think this is an unproductive line of questioning, but I'll keep telling you that the inspector general is investigating this. We'll have a report."

Related: King Says House Intel Chief Won't Show Memo to DOJ Before Trump Gets It

Cuomo tried to justify his repetitive questions, saying, "I keep asking because I feel like you're walking a line of not upsetting certain political partisans who are driving this, but also representing the interests of the DOJ — not an easy line to walk."

But Flores replied, "You're asking me to characterize a text message between two FBI employees that's currently under investigation by the inspector general. It is my job not to prejudge that investigation and to let the inspector general do their job."

Strzok and Page participated in special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia probe and the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. When the anti-Trump and pro-Clinton Strzok-Page text messages surfaced, many Republicans and lawmakers were outraged and expressed their concerns about the DOJ's and FBI's integrity.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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