The “missing” text messages sent between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his reported lover — bureau lawyer Lisa Page — have been recovered by the Justice Department, just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to search for them.
As reported by Fox News, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent a letter to congressional committees Thursday stating that the Justice Department “succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices, including text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page that were sent or received between December 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017.”
While the messages have reportedly been located, it remains to be seen whether or not they will be released to the public, according to Townhall.
On Monday, Sessions announced that the DOJ would continue to investigate the missing messages.
“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 stated.
“I have spoken to the Inspector General and a review is already underway to ascertain what occurred and to determine if these records can be recovered in any other way. If any wrongdoing were to be found to have caused this gap, appropriate legal disciplinary action measures will be taken.”
The FBI previously claimed that they “failed” to retrieve the elusive messages sent between Strzok and Page over a five-month period spanning from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017.
On Friday, Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the DOJ, sent a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee detailing the bureau’s gaffe.
“The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,” Boyd wrote.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, this specific time period coincided with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion with the Trump campaign and Russia.
Both Strzok and Page worked on the Russia probe during the time frame in question (Dec. 2016-May 2017) and may have potentially exchanged additional messages about Trump or the investigation.
Along with the disclosure that months of Strzok and Page’s texts were missing, Boyd handed over 384 pages of additional text messages between the two that were exchanged during the 2016 campaign.
Strzok was removed from Mueller’s investigation team in the summer of 2017 after the DOJ’s inspector general discovered texts between Strzok and his mistress, Page, showing a strong anti-Trump bias.
In one text message dated July 1, 2016, the FBI officials indicated they knew former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not be charged with a crime, despite then-FBI Director James Comey stating the next week at a news conference that only he knew the decision, Fox News reported.
Strzok reportedly wrote of an “insurance policy” in case Trump won the presidency in one of the texts.
There is speculation that Trump’s lawyers will use the case of the missing text messages against the investigation into Russian collusion.
“The fact that now nearly half a year’s worth of text messages between Strzok and Page during the time leading up to Robert Mueller‘s appointment as Special Counsel weren’t preserved by the Justice Department will surely fuel motions from Team Trump’s lawyers against the investigation,” according to Law & Crime.
The site noted that “months of text messages don’t just disappear.”
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