Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were part of the FBI’s investigation of the allegations of 2016 Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
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 is now wiped clean, 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.
Mueller’s “records officer” told the IG “that as part of the office’s records retention procedure, the officer reviewed Strzok’s DOJ issued iPhone after he returned it to the SCO and determined it contained no substantive text messages.”
Page’s phone, which vanished for many months, later was located and found to have been reset.
The special counsel’s office said it did not obtain Page’s phone when she left, so it was not reviewed for records before being reset.
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?”
Jim Hall noted: “So is there going to be anything done about the apparently intentional scrubbing of the Strzok and Page phones? There seem to be different standards for these ‘above the law’ folks and it is chilling.”
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.