The Justice Department has handed over copies of just 15 percent of the text messages exchanged between two FBI officials involved in a romantic affair who expressed negative views about President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
According to the Washington Examiner, DOJ officials are still trying to recover an unknown number of missing text messages that were sent between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page during a five-month stretch of the Russia investigation.
So far, DOJ has identified 50,000 text messages, but those are separate from the missing texts that were exchanged between December 2016 and May 2017.
Of the 50,000 that were already unearthed, DOJ has given Congress between 4,000 and 7,000 of those text messages.
The Justice Department (the headquarters of which is seen above in Washington, DC) is withholding thousands of texts exchanged by two FBI officials last year which show a bias against President Donald Trump
DOJ officials said that there were occasions in the communications between the two agents when they switched to iMessage, the texting service which is exclusive to users of Apple’s iPhone.
There is suspicion among Republicans that the two FBI officials discussed DOJ business on their personal devices.
DOJ has already informed Capitol Hill investigators that it has no intention of allowing them to see text messages that were exchanged on the agents’ personal cell phones.
‘The department is not providing text messages that were purely personal in nature,’ Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to Congressional investigators this past January.
According to the Washington Examiner , DOJ officials are still trying to recover an unknown number of missing text messages that were sent between Peter Strzok (left) and Lisa Page (right) during a five-month stretch of the Russia investigation
Strzok and Page exchanged some 50,000 text messages, some of them quite scathing of Trump. The text in which they discuss the possibility that Hillary Clinton wins the presidency is seen above in the fourth line from the bottom
‘Furthermore, the department has redacted from some work-related text messages portions that were purely personal.
‘The department’s aim in withholding purely personal text messages and redacting personal portions of work-related text messages was primarily to facilitate the committee’s access to potentially relevant text messages without having to cull through large quantities of material unrelated to either the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server or the investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.’
This will surely raise questions in the minds of investigators as to how many of the tens of thousands of text messages that have yet to be revealed were personal in nature.
Strzok, an FBI agent, and Page, a lawyer for the bureau, exchanged text messages that showed a bias against Trump.
It was revealed earlier this week that they were apparently concerned about being too tough on Hillary Clinton during the investigation into her email server.
Messages that were found earlier this week show that they were worried over what might happen if Clinton became president.
‘One more thing: she might be our next president,’ Page texted Strzok in February of 2016, right in the thick of the campaign.
‘The last thing you need [is] going in there loaded for bear,’ she continued.
‘You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more [DOJ] than [FBI]?’
‘Agreed,’ Strzok replied.
They apparently were concerned about being too tough on Hillary Clinton (seen above last December) during the investigation into her email server
Strzok and Page both worked on the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and they also each briefly worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into whether the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
The US Justice Department’s internal watchdog said Thursday it recovered five months of missing text messages between the two officials whom Republicans have accused of bias against Trump.
In a letter to several key Republican lawmakers, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said he would not object if the Justice Department shares with congressional committees the messages between Strzok and Page that were recovered using forensic tools.
In texts that were previously released to Congress, Strzok and Page referred to Trump as an ‘idiot’ and a ‘loathsome human.’
Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered officials in the Department of Justice to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in their search for the 50,000 missing texts between the FBI agent and his lawyer lover
President Donald Trump put the spotlight back on the FBI agents he’d previously accused of ‘treason’ in an early-morning tweet
After news reports about the messages, lawmakers demanded to see them amid Republican concerns that agency officials were biased against Trump.
Their cellphones are just two of ‘thousands’ whose texts were not backed up and stored on the FBI’s systems between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017, according to a Justice Department official.
The FBI has blamed the snafu on ‘misconfiguration issues’ that occurred while the bureau was rolling out new software updates for Samsung 5 devices.
But Republicans have claimed the timing is suspect, especially because May 17 marks the date that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel.
Strzok and Pages’ text messages have become a focal point of congressional Republicans’ investigation into whether the FBI is biased against Trump and gave Clinton more favorable treatment in its investigation of her private email use.
Horowitz, whose office is conducting its own review into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton matter, discovered the texts over the summer and informed Mueller.
Strzok was then reassigned. Page, meanwhile, left the team in July after her 45-day detail ended.
While Republicans have accused the two of bias against Trump, some of the texts suggest he was just one of many people targeted in their routine political banter.
At times, for instance, they were also critical of Clinton.
In addition, another Strzok text also appears to contradict the notion that the FBI is out to get Trump, after he told Page he was hesitant to join Mueller’s team because of his ‘gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.’