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Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arrives on Capitol Hill to speak before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in July 2018. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told the Daily Beast in an interview published Sunday night being the target of President Trump's wrath over the past two years is "like being punched in the gut."

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. He's demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening."

Why it matters: Page became a target of the president's attacks when he was a candidate and she was a trial attorney on then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, after it emerged that she and former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok exchanged private text messages, some of which criticized Trump.

  • The president and other conservatives believe the Russia probe was politically motivated and part of a conspiracy to undermine the Trump presidency.

The big picture: A #ReleaseTheMemo campaign was launched by Republicans, who clashed with Democrats over the issue of missing messages between Page and Strzok.

  • The Department of Justice revealed in December 2018 an investigation found thousands of missing texts between the pair weren't withheld with malicious intent. Instead, it was an FBI technological messaging sweep failure.

What she's saying: In her wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast, Page said she was "overwhelmed by dread and embarrassment" about her "deeply personal secret" affair with Strzok being made public after being told by the DOJ Inspector General's office in July 2017 that she was under investigation for political text messages. She strongly rejects the claims.

  • It's "very painful to see" places like the FBI and the Department of Justice failing to fulfill the "critical obligation that they have to speak truth to power," she said.
"[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." 
  • Page called Trump's attacks on her "very intimidating because he’s still the president of the United States," she said, and revealed she decided to speak out after the president's "demeaning fake orgasm" impersonation of her at a Minneapolis rally in October that "was really the straw that broke the camel’s back."
  • [W]hen 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 said. "To try to further destroy my life."

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from Page's Daily Beast interview and further context.

Go deeper

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."