President Trump on Wednesday claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller 'illegally terminated' texts between "The two lovers, the two pathetic lovers, those two lovebirds" Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
The two former FBI employees at the center of the agency's early Trump investigation sent thousands of text messages to each other which revealed their extreme animus for the then-candidate Trump.
"Robert Mueller, they worked for him ... they had texts back and forth ... Mueller terminated them illegally. He terminated the emails, he terminated all of the stuff between Strzok and Page ... He terminated them. They're gone. That's illegal. That's a crime," Trump said.
While Trump did not provide evidence for his claim, he was likely referring to a December report by the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) which found that after he was fired from the Mueller probe, the special counsel's office allowed Strzok's phone to be wiped clean by the FBI before it was reassigned to another agent.
It strains credulity to imagine that the special counsel's office would 'accidentally' allow Strzok's iPhone to be reformatted after he was fired for exchanging biased text messages on it.
So Mueller's team wiped ALL of the data off of Peter Strzok's iPhone after determining "it contained no substantive text messages." Given what we know about Strzok, this smells like quite the coverup. Time for Congress to step in?https://t.co/mOgpBbDVO4 pic.twitter.com/9w2mEPK64C— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) December 13, 2018
Page's phone was similarly scrubbed.
I'm sure you're all super shocked to find out that Lisa Page's phone was also scrubbed pic.twitter.com/NWV9GQbBTc— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) December 13, 2018
Separately, the OIG recovered approximately 19,000 Strzok-Page texts from their Galaxy S5 phones. The messages span a "gap" in text messages between December 15, 2016 and May 17, 2017.
OIG digital forensic examiners used forensic tools to recover thousands of text messages from these devices, including many outside the period of collection tool failure (December 15, 20 I 6 to May 17, 2017) and many that Strzok and Page had with persons other than each other. Approximately 9,311 text messages that were sent or received during the period of collection tool failure were recovered from Strzok's S5 phone, of which approximately 8,358 were sent to or received from Page. Approximately 10,760 text messages that were sent or received during the period of collection tool failure were recovered from Page's S5 phone, of which approximately 9,717 were sent to or received from Strzok. Thus, many of the text messages recovered from Strzok's S5 were also recovered from Page's S5. However, some of the Strzok-Page text messages were only recovered from Strzok's phone while others were only recovered from Page's phone. -OIG Report
In August 2016, Strzok and Page discussed an "insurance policy" in the event that Trump won the election which many believe to be in reference to operation Crossfire Hurricane - the DOJ's counterintelligence investigation into Trump and his campaign.
"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office - that there's no way he [Trump] gets elected - but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." wrote Strzok, adding "It's like a life insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."
In the home stretch of the 2016 US election, Strzok is fuming at Trump - texting Page: " I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer." He then texts "I CAN'T PULL AWAY, WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!," to which Page replies "I don't know. But we'll get it back."
No wonder Strzok's iPhone was allowed to be scrubbed!
Mueller will testify in front of two House committees on July 17 in an open setting.