President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is charging that FBI special counsel Robert Mueller needs to be investigated for destroying evidence.
“Mueller should be investigated for destruction of evidence for allowing those text messages from [Peter] Strzok to be erased, messages that would show the state of mind and tactics of his lead anti-Trump FBI agent at the start of his probe,” Giuliani told the Hill Opinion Contributor John Solomon in an interview.
WND had reported just days ago that the messages at issue are those between Strzok and his FBI paramour, Lisa Page.
Both were part of the FBI’s investigation of the allegations of 2016 Trump campaign collusion with Russia, and during that investigation they exchanged text messages expressing their hatred of Donald Trump and their efforts to make sure he wasn’t elected.
More evidence likely resided on the iPhones issued to them by the government.
But that evidence was erased, because the phones were “reset” to factory settings, apparently by Mueller’s team.
In a report, the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Justice explained that when the IG was looking for the phones, Mueller’s office responded that Strzok’s had been re-issued and reset.
Solomon reported Giuliani concluded it is time for the chief investigator in the Russia case to be investigated.
The IG had confirmed officials were unable to recover messages from the time Strzok and Page worked for Mueller’s office in spring and summer 2017 because the memories of both FBI officials’ government phones were wiped clean by technicians.
“That erasure occurred after Strzok and Page left Mueller’s team over revelations they exchanged anti-Trump text messages, including one string in which they talked about stopping Trump from becoming president,” the report said.
“That should be investigated, damn it, that should be investigated fully. You want a special counsel, get one for that,” Giuliani said.
The Washington Times said the IG reported, “The FBI’s collection tool was not only failing to collect any data on certain phones during particular periods of time, it also does not appear that it was collecting all text messages even when it was generally functioning to collect text messages.”
Strzok initially was a lead investigator in the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state to transmit classified information.
The IG, reviewing the FBI investigation of Clinton, asked for records of agent communications and found that there were no text messages provided for Page from December 2016 through May 2017 and none from Strzok from June 2016 through July 2017.
The texts available were from the Samsung devices the FBI was using at the time. But the devices later were replaced with iPhones. It is those phones that were reset.
A commentary at Twitchy noted Page left Mueller’s office in July 2017 but her iPhone was not found until September 2018.
“After examining the device, the OIG found that it had been reset to factory settings on July 31, 2017. As for Strzok, he completed his SCO Exit Clearance Certificate on August 11, 2017. … When OIG received Strzok’s phone in late January 2018, they found that his phone had been reconfigured for a new user – by resetting it to factory settings.”
On Twitter, July Kelly explained: “Short version: Mueller’s Office scrubbed clean both Strzok and Page’s phones. Reset to factory settings. SCO also didn’t know who handled Page’s device after she left in July 2017. SCO records officer said she doesn’t recall whether there were ANY texts of Strzok’s phone.”
Another Twitter user wrote, “This is shady as hell and show why many people don’t trust this process and believe it to be an attempt, not to investigate but to take down the POTUS by any means possible.”
Responding to the report, the FBI said some text messages were not being archived and it’s working to correct the issue.
“Text message collection failure, and rate of collection failure, has been an issue the FBI has worked to understand and correct since its identification I 2014,” the agency said.
Commented the Libertarian, “So, the basic question is, did the FBI and SCO obstruct justice?”
Texts by Strzok such as one in which he vowed to “stop” Trump from being elected led to his removal from the FBI.
Strzok told members of Congress in a hearing that he had been advised by FBI counsel not to respond to questions about the text, which was sent to his then-paramour, Page.
Strzok was a member of Mueller’s special counsel team investigating the Russia matter and was removed after anti-Trump text messages were made public by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Strzok later lost his security clearance and was escorted from FBI headquarters in Washington.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton pointed out that the firing of Strzok shows the special counsel investigation of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia is compromised.
It was Strzok who authored a memo that is credited for opening the Russian-Trump campaign investigation.