The conservative actors and writers behind a dramatized reading of texts between then-FBI special agent Peter Strzok and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page met with President Trump in the Oval Office for nearly an hour.
The short play, FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers, starring Dean Cain as Strzok and Kristy Swanson as Page, was written and produced by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, two Irish documentary filmmakers and authors.
“We met the president of the United States today in the Oval Office for 40 minutes, today,” McElhinney told a crowd of hundreds at the Conservative Political Action Conference during a Q&A session after a performance. “He loves the play.”
“He said he wants to play a part,” Swanson said.
“He said he’d be my understudy,” Cain said.
Strzok helped lead the FBI’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and any connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and he briefly worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before the texts came to light. Page worked closely with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Strzok and Page, who were having an affair, exchanged anti-Trump messages that the president’s supporters argue are proof of an effort to prevent him from taking office. The pair denied the messages were anything but venting.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok told Page in one August 2016 exchange. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
“[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page asked Strzok another time that month.
“No. No he won’t,” Strzok assured her. “We’ll stop it.”
Cain, whose portrayal included Strzok’s smirk from his congressional testimony, is best known for playing Clark Kent and Superman in the 1990s hit show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He recently co-starred in 2018’s Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer about the prosecution of notorious Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell. The script was written by McAleer, who also penned the Gosnell book and wrote its script.
Swanson, who wore the same style of dress Page did in her congressional testimony, is best known for her role as Buffy Summers in the 1992 cult movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which spawned the TV series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar a few years later.
The two punctuated their readings of the Strzok-Page texts by emphasizing and reading aloud “winky face,” “three exclamation points,” and “sigh.”
During the Q&A session, Cain said he has “little pictures of Strzok inside my script” to “remind me of the faces he pulled.” Swanson said she was willing to be open about being a Republican in Hollywood because, “I believe in being myself.”
“They’re having a ball. There are no consequences, for this is modern-day D.C. In fact, you get a new career, a job as an analyst on CNN, or a book deal,” McAleer said of people such as Strzok and Page. “If you’re a Republican, you go to jail.”
He emphasized that the script was “100% verbatim” from the texts.
“They mock themselves,” Cain said.
When asked what Swanson and Cain, who portrayed heroes, would say to Strzok and Page, “who thought they were heroes,” Swanson said, “The heroes we played weren’t arrogant.”
“I believe they really thought they were doing what was in the best interest of the country, regardless of whether it was against the Constitution,” Cain said. “I really think they thought they were doing something heroic.”
Trump mocked the Strzok-Page texts during his victory lap speech at the White House earlier this month following his Senate impeachment acquittal.
“When you have Lisa and Peter, the lovers, the FBI lovers,” Trump said.
“I can tell you, in my opinion, these are the crookedest, most dishonest, dirtiest people I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“I’m really not a bad person,” the president said.
Strzok tweeted in response, “I will have a great deal more to say about the president’s attacks on those with responsibility for holding him accountable,” and, “America deserves better.” Strzok has sued the DOJ over allegations of wrongful termination. His lawyer, Aitan Goelman, emphasized Strzok’s “patriotic career” and claimed he was “vindicated by two independent IG investigations.”
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz criticized Strzok in a June 2018 report on the FBI’s inquiry into Clinton in 2016, noting he “did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision” that his handling of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails found on disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop “was free from bias.” And Horowitz’s December 2019 report on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses ended with the DOJ inspector general unable to determine whether the FBI’s repeated failures were due to “sheer gross incompetence” or “intentional misconduct.”
“I am not just an FBI target of the President, but a female one,” Page tweeted in late December. “So his followers understand that I’m therefore different, and ‘deserving’ of a special kind of hatred, a vile reduction of my whole existence into body parts and sex acts. It’s incredibly degrading and dehumanizing, but I suppose that’s the point, isn’t it.”
She also said that “there was no insurance policy.”