Courtesy of the Inquisitr:
On Tuesday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) appeared on Fox News to declare that a text message he had seen between fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page was a smoking gun that proved there was a “secret society” within the Federal Bureau of Investigation dedicated to bringing down President Donald Trump. By Thursday, however, when the text had been revealed by ABC News to appear to be harmless banter between the pair, Johnson was forced to admit to the “real possibility” that the text was a joke.
Naturally, Twitter pundits were very happy to pounce on the news, heaping scorn on Johnson and the other Republican congressmen pushing the “secret society” conspiracy.
This latest controversy actually began several months back when the Robert Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of the Trump administration to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election announced that agent Peter Strzok was being fired after it was discovered that he had sent text messages insulting to the president. Republican members of both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, who are also investigating the Trump-Russia scandal, then asked to see the texts in question to determine if there was an anti-Trump bias in the FBI. The FBI released some texts to the committees but announced that texts from a five-month period were “lost.” According to a report from CNN, this alarmed Republican members of the House Committee, such as Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who were proponents of the theory that there was a “deep state” coup being attempted by members of the intelligence services to unseat President Trump. The FBI has said that the texts were “lost” due to a “glitch” in the system.
Donald Trump himself commented on the missing emails, tweeting it was “one of the biggest stories in a long time.”
Of course Trey "Benghazi" Gowdy and Fox News also took the bait:
Investigative journalist Sara Carter joined "Fox & Friends" Tuesday morning to react to newly revealed text messages exchanged between top FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair.
According to Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), who saw the messages, Strzok makes reference to a "secret society" of anti-Trump agents within the Department of Justice and the FBI who had their first meeting the day after Trump won the election in November 2016.
Can you say "smoking gun?"
Well don't say it yet, because as it turns out this is all based on a joke.
Courtesy of HuffPo:
One text that Page sent Strzok early on the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, has dominated the conservative media world this week, serving as a springboard for a Republican conspiracy theory suggesting that the nation’s premier law enforcement organization was plotting a coup against Trump within hours of his stunning victory.
“Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing,” Page, a FBI lawyer, wrote in the text to Strzok from her FBI-issued phone. “Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society.”
Republican lawmakers seized upon the “secret society” reference this week, claiming to see sinister motives, and it started popping up all over cable news chyrons. But, in fact, it was almost certainly a joke, a bit of gallows humor after an election that featured Russian interference.
So what was that “calendars” reference all about? Out of context, it’s a bit confusing. But the backstory is actually kind of funny. The New York Times first reported that the “calendars,” which the Times said had a “Russia theme,” were a gag gift for those working on the early Russia probe.
A source familiar with the text messages filled HuffPost in on the details. It turns out that, as a joke, Strzok had purchased calendars featuring “beefcake” photos of Vladimir Putin doing manly, tough-guy things like riding a horse.
Yeah, so that happened.
I have to say at this point I do not know how anybody takes Fox News or the Republican party seriously anymore.