DOJ Begins Probe Of 'Missing' Anti-Trump FBI Texts, "Will Leave No Stone Unturned"

Following the not entirely surprising news at the end of last week that The FBI "failed to preserve" five months of text messages between various anti-Trump agents, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed today that the department of justice has launched a full investigation into this debacle.

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Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

More than 50,000 texts were exchanged between the two FBI officials who have come under fire for exchanging anti-Trump messages during the 2016 election.

“The FBI has informed [the Department of Justice] that many FBI-provided Samsung 5 mobile devices did not capture or store text messages due to misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”

 

But, in another comedic twist, when asked Monday whether the FBI “failed to preserve” text message records on similar “Samsung 5” devices belonging to any other FBI officials during that time period, the FBI told Fox News they had “no comment".

In other words, according to the FBI, it was Samsung's fault thousands of text message in an especially sensitive period went missing. Incidentally, during the window of missing text messages, a lot happened: Trump took the oath of office; National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whom Strzok interviewed, was fired; the controversial anti-Trump dossier was published; the president fired FBI Director James Comey; and special counsel Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.

Certainly a "very convenient" period of time in which all potentially incriminating text messages would suddenly disappear...

“The loss of records from this period is concerning because it is apparent from other records that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page communicated frequently about the investigation,” Johnson wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray over the weekend, as we reported previously, requesting more information and questioning whether the FBI had done a thorough search on non-FBI devices belonging to Strzok and Page during that period.

And it was a lot: the two agents exchanged at least 25,000 text message a year or approximately 70 text message per day!

This immediately prompted some to ask just what was the logic:

In a statement to Fox News, Sessions said:

“We will leave no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available to be produced and will use every technology available to determine whether the missing messages are recoverable from another source.

“If we are successful, we will update the congressional committees immediately.”

Sessions added that:

“I have spoken to the Inspector General and a review is already underway to ascertain what occurred and to determine if these records can be recovered in any other way."

"If any wrongdoing were to be found to have caused this gap, appropriate legal disciplinary action measures will be taken.

Below is the full statement by the US Attorney General, highlights ours:

"Six congressional committees made a request to the Department ofJustice for FBI text messages between two FBI employees from July 1, 2015 to July 28, 2017, which the Department agreed to produce as quickly as possible. The Inspector General has been reviewing these texts based on "allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed...and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations." The Department of Justice agreed to produce those records as quickly as possible. After reviewing the voluminous records on the FBI's servers, which included over 50,000 texts, the Inspector General discovered the FBI's system failed to retain text messages for approximately 5 months between December 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017.

"The Department apprised the congressional committees of the missing text messages on Friday in the transmittal letter when providing the available text messages to them. I have spoken to the Inspector General and a review is already underway to ascertain what occurred and to determine if these records can be recovered in any other way. If any wrongdoing were to be found to have caused this gap, appropriate legal disciplinary action measures will be taken.

"We will leave no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available to be produced and will use every technology available to determine whether the missing messages are recoverable from another source. If we are successful, we will update the congressional committees immediately."

Session's statement suggests that contrary to earlier disclosures and speculation, the Inspector General was never in possession of the emails. An OIG spokesperson declined to comment to Fox News.

“The claim that five months of critical evidence went missing due to a technical glitch is really hard to take at face value,” a source from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence told Fox News on Monday, leaving the door open for that committee to also launch a formal inquiry with the FBI.

Then there is the question of why did the FBI disclose this gap only now: a source on one committee in receipt of the new text messages told Fox News it was “outrageous” that the FBI had not previously indicated the five-month gap in messages existed. The source said it was incumbent on the FBI to prove that the missing texts do not constitute “obstruction” of congressional oversight or “destruction of evidence.”

As a reminder, last month, the DOJ released hundreds of text messages between Strzok and Page, both of whom served briefly on Mueller’s team, with Page leaving over the summer and Strzok being reassigned late last year to the FBI’s human resources division after the discovery of the exchanges with Page.

Many of the texts revealed a clear anti-Trump and pro-Clinton bias, and included discussions of the Clinton email investigation.

"We need to get to the bottom of it and find out what exactly happened," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday on Fox News' "Outnumbered Overtime."

Jordan said Monday that the lapse in documents is reminiscent of the mysterious disappearance of emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner during the Obama-era IRS/Tea Party targeting scandal. Lerner’s emails disappeared during congressional investigations.

“The Lerner thing was huge,” Jordan told The Daily Caller. “My gut tells me this is probably bigger.”

So to summarize:

  • IRS emails: missing, and likely deleted
  • Clinton emails: deleted
  • NSA emails: deleted
  • And now, thousands of FBI text messages: deleted


What a farce.

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Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said the need for a second special counsel was “abundantly clear now.”

“Unreal. We’ve been asking for the remaining text messages between anti-Trump FBI agents (and former Mueller team members), Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The FBI now says the texts are ‘missing,’” Meadows tweeted on Sunday. “If it wasn’t already clear we need a second special counsel, it’s abundantly clear now.”

Shortly after the news broke, Donald Trump, Jr was drown in, tweeting "The FBI/govt “loss of texts” revelations are crazy. How often can they lose seemingly critical info before Americans realize it’s all a big scam? Lerner, Clinton, FBI etc... Imagine if I tried that??? Why the different standard for them?"