FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on global threats on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., April 14, 2021.
Graeme Jennings | Reuters
A federal judge on Thursday ordered the former president Donald Trump may be questioned in sworn testimony by lawyers for former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page as part of their lawsuits related to the government’s disclosure of their private text messages.
Trump and current FBI Director Christopher Wray can be deposed for two hours on “a narrow range of topics” that were hashed out during a closed hearing earlier in the day, Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in an order in U.S. District Court in Washington. DC
The judge noted that there are still some lingering questions about executive privilege that need to be resolved. She gave the Justice Department until March 24 to clarify whether the president Joe Biden invokes executive authority over the specified topics.
Page’s attorney declined to comment. Strzok’s attorney did not immediately respond to questions from CNBC about the judge’s order.
Trump has regularly attacked Strzok and Page since 2017 following revelations that the pair sent anti-Trump texts while employed by the FBI and having an affair.
Strzok, then the FBI’s top counterintelligence official, was removed from the Justice Department’s probe into Russian election meddling after then-special counsel Robert Mueller discovered his texts. Strzok was fired in 2018.
Strzok and Page filed separate civil lawsuits against the Justice Department and the FBI in 2019. Strzok claimed he was fired “because of his protected political speech” in violation of his constitutional rights.
The decision “was the result of relentless pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media,” Strzok’s legal complaint claims. His lawsuit seeks relief including “reinstatement and back pay.”
Page, who resigned as an FBI lawyer in 2018, claimed in her own lawsuit that the Justice Department violated the Privacy Act by “unlawfully disclosing agency records” when it shared her texts with the press.
The release of the texts turned Strzok and Page into villains on the right, with critics — including Trump — holding them up as evidence of deep-rooted anti-conservative bias in powerful government institutions.
Shortly before the Justice Department opened its Russia investigation in 2016, Strzok wrote Page: “F Trump.” Strzok also wrote to Page during the 2016 election that Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton “should win 100,000,000-0.”
Strzok’s lawsuit noted that an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General found no evidence that his work was influenced by political bias.
Trump frequently targeted Strzok and Page on Twitter as he criticized Mueller’s investigation, which also looked into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
“How can a rigged witch hunt continue when ex-FBI agent/lover Peter Strzok started, influenced and worked on it for a long time?” Trump tweeted in July 2018.