Congressional investigators have gotten their hands on nearly 400 new pages’ worth of text messages between FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, shedding further light on the pair’s biased approach to 2016’s most important investigations.
But there’s one thing that may be more problematic than any messages Republicans are reviewing on Capitol Hill – the fact that five months’ worth of messages between the two officials are completely missing from the record. From December 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, there are no texts to be found. The end date just happens to be the same day that Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to the Russia investigation.
The Justice Department claims that there are technical reasons for the hole in the record. Because the FBI used a certain type of phone system, many messages were unable to be backed up as is the norm for electronic communications. There were, the DOJ explained, “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.” This excuse, which sounds exceedingly familiar to anyone who watched the Lois Lerner scandal unfold at the IRS, is raising eyebrows in the halls of Congress.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Sen. Ron Johnson of the Homeland Security Committee asked whether the FBI had any record of communications between the two at all, or if the Bureau had examined non-FBI phones for additional texts. He is demanding to know the “scope and scale” of records pertaining to the Clinton investigation that have been lost due to the technical problems.
The more that we learn about the messages these two were sending back and forth, the more we’re certain that there’s more to this story than meets the eye. While many of the texts that have been revealed to the public thus far look uncomfortably biased, we’re skeptical that they alone formed the basis for Strzok’s removal from the Mueller team. No, we have a sinking feeling that there is more to it than what we’ve seen. More damning messages that demonstrate something even more troubling than mere political bias. After all, we’re sure all FBI agents have some degree of political bias. They aren’t robots. They were either for Clinton or Trump. Professionals are expected to set aside those opinions while investigating the respective cases. Why wouldn’t the same be true for Strzok?
Well, we have a feeling that the answer lies not in the texts that have been made public – as disturbing as they are – but in this treasure trove of supposedly “missing” messages. Where are they? You’re telling us they don’t exist…anywhere? Sorry, we’re not buying it. If the FBI wants to recover those messages, they can. And in fact, we doubt there’s anything to recover. Those messages are being specifically withheld from Congress – that’s our bet. This story is far from over.