WASHINGTON — It was hours after Donald Trump became the president-elect, and two FBI officers, like many of their fellow citizens, were flabbergasted. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — both of whom had worked on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, which the former secretary of state would blame for her loss — were worried about the future of their country and their agency.
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 organisation 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 little 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 gag, Strzok had purchased calendars featuring “beefcake” photos of Vladimir Putin doing manly, tough-guy things like riding a horse.