Conservative lawmakers from four separate committees are raising alarm bells about a tranche of missing text messages between two FBI agents assigned to the investigation into Russia and President Trump’s campaign, saying it calls into “further question the credibility and objectivity of certain officials at the FBI.”
Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee lawmakers are refusing to allow the FBI to view a classified four-page memo that GOP members say shows abuse by the bureau of government surveillance powers.
“Well, yeah, they’re the ones that had the problem,” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said Tuesday, when asked why the bureau’s request to see the document is being denied.
In another sign of tension, Axios reported Monday night that FBI Director Christopher Wray threatened to resign over pressure from the White House to dismiss Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a longtime GOP target.
It all comes amid signs that special counsel Robert Mueller is moving closer to interviewing Trump as he continues his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including possible collusion with members of Trump’s campaign.
If Trump’s smart, he’ll refuse to cooperate with an obviously-tainted investigation.
Related: WSJ: The FBI’s Missing Texts: More reasons to question the bureau’s 2016 election actions:
The Justice Department has dropped a second tranche of text exchanges between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page —conveniently delivering them to the Senate at the start of last Friday night’s government shutdown. Investigators are still plowing through the 384 pages, but preliminary findings raise new questions about FBI political maneuvering during the 2016 election.
Among the biggest news is what wasn’t in the Friday delivery: The FBI claims to have “failed” to capture text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017. This period coincides with the height of the FBI’s investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion, on which Mr. Strzok was a lead investigator. The FBI is blaming this five-month missing link on “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades.”
These are the folks tasked with investigating Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson on Saturday wrote to FBI director Christopher Wray asking how many other FBI records were lost. Imagine how Mr. Wray’s agents would treat a private individual’s failure to turn over comparable records.
Mr. Johnson’s letter also revealed more reason to believe the FBI’s probe into Mrs. Clinton’s email server may have included political calculations. Congress already knows through internal memos that the FBI watered down the language in Mr. Comey’s July 2016 Clinton exoneration statement—from the legally culpable “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
But the latest texts show the FBI also eliminated evidence that Mrs. Clinton compromised high-level communications. A June 30, 2016 draft of Mr. Comey’s statement noted that Mrs. Clinton had engaged in “an email exchange with [President Obama ]” via her private server while on the “territory of sophisticated adversaries.” That same afternoon, Mr. Strzok texts Ms. Page to tell her that, in fact, senior officials had decided to water down the reference to President Obama to “another senior government official.” By the time Mr. Comey gave his public statement on July 5, both references—to Mr. Obama and to “another senior government official”—had disappeared.
And while Mr. Comey made much in his statement about how he had “not coordinated or reviewed [his] statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government,” the Strzok-Page texts indicate otherwise.
This thing stinks to high heaven.