Text messages reveal the FBI considered using a personal connection between an FBI employee and a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff to further its controversial probe into unsubstantiated and ultimately discredited allegations of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

The text messages in question were exchanges between disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, the infamous texting duo who were previously reportedly romantically involved.

The detail was buried in a three-sentence footnote, footnote 480, on page 344 of the Justice Department’s previously released 476-page Inspector General report on the FBI’s Russia collusion investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane.

A section of the report documents how James Comey’s FBI provided unclassified “counterintelligence awareness” briefings to the transition teams for the Trump and Clinton campaigns, including a briefing to Pence on September 9, 2016.

A footnote reveals the existence of the text messages between Page and Strzok suggesting the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team probing Trump considered using a Pence employee for the purposes of its questionable Russia collusion probe.

The footnote reads:

We identified text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page from November 2016 suggesting the FBI may have considered using a connection between a then member of Pence’s staff and an FBI employee in some manner to further the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. We asked SSA1 about this. He said that he had been told of the connection but did not personally know the FBI employee, and that he did not change his approach to Pence’s FBI security briefing because of the connection. He also said he could not recall any discussions about using the connection to further the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we did not find any evidence that it was used.

SSA1 refers to a senior member of the Crossfire Hurricane team.

A separate 2018 Justice Department IG report on the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email probe described an extraordinary system of communication set up between Page and the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, that bypassed the ordinary chain of command to communicate important information about the agency’s probe of Clinton’s email server. The method of communication involved Strzok sending information on the Clinton probe to McCabe through Page, the report found.

The revelation that the FBI considered using a Pence employee follows a Breitbart News report last week documenting the FBI team investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election cultivated and maintained numerous sources close to Trump during the election and the transition period when Trump was entering the White House.

The FBI sources include one person who was in direct contact with Trump and who was utilized by one FBI agent to “obtain insight into the incoming Trump administration.”

Another source was described as voluntarily providing the FBI team probing Trump with large volumes of documents.

Yet another FBI source held a position in the Trump campaign and another was described as a Trump “supporter.” Another source was documented as attending a private gathering with Trump.