REPORT: Missing Anti-Trump FBI Agent’s Texts Have Been Found
The Department of Justice informed lawmakers Thursday that previously missing text messages exchanged between anti-Trump FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page during an essential five-month period in the Russia probe have been recovered.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent a letter to Iowa Sens. Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson informing the Republican lawmakers that the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) “succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages between FBI devices, including texts from Ms. Page or Mr. Strzok that were sent or received between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.”
“Our effort to recover any additional text messages is ongoing,” Horowitz said. “We will provide copies of the text messages that we recover from these devices to the Department so that the Department’s leadership can take any management action it deems appropriate.”
Strzok and Page found themselves at the center of a slowly unfolding controversy after it was revealed that the agents, who were both central figures in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, exchanged nakedly partisan text messages while the probe was ongoing, referring to Trump as an “idiot” and discussing a cryptic “insurance policy” to prevent his election. Strzok, who also played a key role in the FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server, was reassigned to the FBI human resources department in August after Mueller learned of the text messages. Page had already left the team.
The DOJ disclosed the missing text messages in a Friday letter sent congressional committees, which accompanied a second batch of 384 text messages exchanged by Strzok and Page, who were romantically involved at the time.
The missing texts were exchanged during a key period in the Russia investigation.
The publication of the infamous Steele dossier, Strzok’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn about his Russia contacts, and the firing of Flynn and Comey all occurred during the mysterious gap, prompting Republican lawmakers to demand an explanation. The final day of the five month period is particularly notable as May, 17 is the very day Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The technical glitch that led to the FBI’s “failure to preserve” the texts affected roughly one out of ten FBI issued cell phones, sources told CNN.
President Donald Trump called the missing text messages “one of the biggest stories in a long time” in a Tuesday tweet.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed Monday that the Justice Department will “leave no stone unturned” in trying to find the elusive text messages, which he suggested number as high as 50,000.
“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,” Sessions said in a statement.
The DOJ declined to comment.
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