Lisa Page, one of the FBI officials singled out by President Donald Trump in his bid to portray the Russia probe as a partisan bid to undermine him, has spoken to The Daily Beast about the impact of the attacks.
"The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He's demeaning me and my career. It's sickening," Page told the publication.
Page said the final straw came when Trump used her name to apparently simulate an orgasm in an October rally, in what she called a "degrading stunt."
In December 2017 the Justice Department's watchdog released messages between her and Peter Strzok, a senior FBI counterintelligence official with whom she was having an affair, that appeared to show anti-Trump bias.
Page and Strzok were removed from the Mueller probe into Russian interference when the messages came to light.
Former FBI attorney Lisa Page has broken her silence to tell The Daily Beast about the impact of being singled out for "degrading" attacks by President Donald Trump as he sought to portray the Russia investigation as a partisan hit job.
The president and his allies have kept up a steady stream of attacks against Page, who worked as a trial attorney on then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.
She became a focus for their attacks when it emerged, in December 2017, that she had exchanged messages suggesting anti-Trump bias and concern about Trump's 2016 victory with FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, with whom she was having an extramarital affair.
The messages included:
From Page in 2016: "This man cannot be president."
From Strzok, of a potential Trump presidency: "I'm scared for our organization."
From Page, of Hillary Clinton: "She just has to win now. I'm not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump."
Republicans had seized on the messages to undermine the entire investigation as a partisan attempt to undermine Trump.
Page has kept a low profile since those messages were released, with Sunday being her first media interview.
"My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world," she told The Beast. "He's demeaning me and my career. It's sickening."
"But it's also very intimidating because he's still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there's no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he's still somebody in a position to actually do something about that," she added. "To try to further destroy my life."
"It never goes away or stops, even when he's not publicly attacking me."
AP Photo/Jim Mone
Page decided to speak out after Trump discussed Page and Strzok while appearing to simulate an orgasm at an October 10 rally in Minneapolis.
It was a "truly reprehensible, degrading stunt at his rally, in which he used my name to simulate an orgasm," she told The Beast, describing it as "the straw that broke the camel's back."
"It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative," she said. "I decided to take my power back."
On Sunday an as-yet unverified Twitter account — @NatSecLisa — was created under Page's name. The first and so far only message is a link to The Beast's interview, alongside the caption: "I'm done being quiet."
At his rally in Minneapolis, Donald Trump did an impression of former FBI agent Peter Strzok having an orgasm.
The texts between Page and Strzok were made public in December 2017 amid an investigation by the Justice Department Inspector General — the department's watchdog — into the FBI's actions during the 2016 election.
Both officials were removed from Mueller's team when the messages came to light.
In the interview, Page criticized the Justice Department — where she previously worked — for releasing selections of her messages with Strzok to the media, and failing to defend her when she became a target for partisan attacks.
She said that under Trump, the department had abandoned its core principles.
"It's particularly devastating to be betrayed by an organization I still care about so deeply," she said. "And it's crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it's abandoned its principles of truth and independence."
Five months' worth of texts between the pair had also gone missing between 2016 and 2017, prompting Trump to push a conspiracy of a wide-ranging partisan plot by officials to undermine his presidency.
The DOJ watchdog has since concluded that the messages were omitted because of a fault with the technology used by the FBI to sweep text messages.
Strzok is currently suing the Justice Department and FBI for firing him, claiming the move was politically motivated and unconstitutional.