The Department of Justice has recovered missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the DOJ’s inspector general said Thursday.
In a letter sent to congressional committees, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his office “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.”
“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.”
Fox News reports U.S. government officials said the inspector general recovered the texts by taking possession of “at least four” phones belonging to Strzok and Page.
The missing messages have been at the center of a storm of controversy on Capitol Hill, after the DOJ notified congressional committees that there is a gap in records between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017. Strzok and Page are under scrutiny after it was revealed that the former members of Robert Mueller’s team exchanged a series of anti-Trump texts during the presidential campaign.
The so-called “glitch” that resulted in their missing messages reportedly affected thousands of FBI phones. In all, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at least 50,000 messages were exchanged between Strzok and Page.
Strzok was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling after anti-Trump messages between him and Page were revealed. Strzok also worked on the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Some GOP lawmakers in recent days have homed in on an exchange in recently recovered texts in which Strzok and Page make reference to a “secret society.” Johnson, one of the senators who has voiced concerns about this exchange, acknowledged Thursday morning the possibility that the “secret society” reference was made in jest, The Hill reports.
“Are you even going to give out your calendars?” Page asked Strzok in one of the messages. “Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society.”
Horowitz wrote in the letter to Johnson and Grassley that his office will provide copies of the recovered texts to the Justice Department, after which leadership can decide how to proceed with distributing the information to Senate committees. Three congressional committees are investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 25th, 2018