BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Police searching for missing 12-year-old boy Full Story

DOJ official dodges 'secret society' questions

Department of Justice Director of Public Affairs Sarah Isgur Flores dodges CNN's Chris Cuomo's questions about an alleged FBI "secret society," saying it is an "unproductive line of questioning."

Posted: Jan 26, 2018 2:06 AM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 2:19 AM

A Justice Department spokeswoman said Thursday that it's unclear whether a text message between two FBI employees referring to a "secret society" was serious or done in jest.

"It's unclear. That's why we wait for an inspector general report, who is investigating this," Sarah Isgur Flores told CNN's "New Day."

Conservatives have seized on the text exchange between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok, which was sent after the 2016 presidential election, as potential evidence of an anti-Donald Trump bias at the FBI. Strzok was a member of the FBI team investigating Hillary Clinton's email server and, later, a member of Robert Mueller's special counsel operation looking into Russia's attempted interference in the 2016 election.

CNN has reviewed the text message that Republicans appear to be referring to. The message does not reveal an obvious intention behind the exchange, and raises the possibility that it may have been an off-hand remark or joke.

"Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society," Page said to Strzok, with whom she was romantically involved, in one of the tens of thousands text messages they exchanged.

Flores also said the DOJ wants to see the House Intelligence Committee's four-page memo that alleges FBI abuses related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the use of the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia. Republicans on the committee are considering using an obscure committee rule to bypass the executive branch's declassification process to release the classified memo.

The Justice Department warned Wednesday that it "would be extraordinarily reckless" for the committee to release the memo publicly "without giving the Department and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum" and to "advise" on possible harm to national security and ongoing investigations from its public release.

"A lot of congressmen have seen it and a lot of congressmen have been disturbed by it. And so I think what we're saying is, if you have evidence of wrongdoing, we really need to see that," Flores said.

Flores added that "at this point I haven't seen any evidence" of FISA warrant abuse, but noted that members of Congress have "seen over a thousand pages of material. Maybe they've seen something that we haven't."

Flores did not confirm that the President pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to possibly remove or reassign FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who has come under public criticism by Trump and his allies in recent weeks over the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and his connections to the text messages between Page and Strzok.

"I'm also not going to talk about what the attorney general says to his FBI director, but I do think the attorney general has made clear that he thinks that the FBI deserves a fresh start, and that he has great confidence in (FBI Director) Chris Wray, a man of great integrity, to get the job done," she said.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Trump asked then-acting FBI Director McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election in an introductory Oval Office meeting in May, not long after former FBI Director James Comey had been fired. McCabe reportedly responded by telling the President that he didn't vote.

McCabe thought the exchange was "disturbing," the Post reported one official as saying.

Flores said she had "no idea" whether the exchange happened.

"The President says it didn't happen, so I'm going to take his word for it," she added.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
Montgomery433890
Whitley405642
Huntington402181
Steuben398659
Miami392568
Jasper386254
Knox375690
Putnam371860
Wabash360583
Ripley346470
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White329753
Daviess3028100
Wells294881
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284664
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269855
Clay265448
Randolph244683
Washington244534
Jennings235149
Spencer234131
Starke227558
Fountain218347
Sullivan213943
Owen210858
Fulton201542
Jay200832
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175626
Vermillion173544
Franklin170135
Tipton165746
Parke148916
Pike137934
Blackford136032
Pulaski120047
Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
Warren83515
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0421

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107047

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1284921459
Cuyahoga1155972204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524821040
Summit48339999
Lucas43303817
Butler38901603
Stark33286929
Lorain25641502
Warren24557303
Mahoning22330601
Lake21135385
Clermont20097252
Delaware18817135
Licking16645222
Fairfield16561204
Trumbull16522479
Medina15593270
Greene15252246
Clark14219306
Wood13280197
Portage13226214
Allen11905239
Richland11598211
Miami10835223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9020230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8649122
Marion8635138
Tuscarawas8633247
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7137179
Hancock6996131
Ross6933161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6528104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5722102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5436125
Darke5415129
Seneca5343126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501587
Mercer487385
Shelby476195
Knox4567112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4333103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387277
Preble3847103
Clinton378466
Ottawa372681
Highland359265
Williams347578
Champaign343658
Guernsey324153
Jackson317354
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285450
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2698101
Coshocton268359
Van Wert247264
Adams242856
Pike242735
Gallia240450
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196748
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113638
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Angola
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Tuesday is another mostly sunny and comfortable day with a small chance of a stray afternoon shower or sprinkle.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events