Rudy Giuliani has an unmistakable New Year’s message for special counsel Robert Mueller: It is time for the chief investigator in the Russia case to be investigated in 2019.
In wide-ranging interviews with Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and me on Wednesday and Thursday, President Trump’s defense lawyer pointedly accused Mueller’s office of destroying evidence by allowing text messages from now-fired FBI official Peter Strzok and his FBI lover, Lisa Page, to be erased in the Russia probe.
“Mueller should be investigated for destruction of evidence for allowing those text messages from Strzok to be erased, messages that would show the state of mind and tactics of his lead anti-Trump FBI agent at the start of his probe,” Giuliani said.
The Justice Department inspector general (IG) reported this month that it found large gaps in the preservation of official government text messages between Strzok and Page, the two top FBI agents who helped to start the Russia probe in 2016, who were having an affair at the time, and who expressed disdain for Trump.
The report said a technical glitch was to blame for the FBI’s failure to save those text messages, but the IG was able to recover more than 19,000 from the early part of the Russia probe before Mueller was named special prosecutor.
However, the IG said it was unable to recover messages from the time Strzok and Page worked for Mueller’s office in spring and summer 2017 because the memories of both FBI officials’ government phones were wiped clean by technicians.
That erasure occurred after Strzok and Page left Mueller’s team over revelations they exchanged anti-Trump text messages, including one string in which they talked about stopping Trump from becoming president.
“That should be investigated, damn it, that should be investigated fully. You want a special counsel, get one for that,” Giuliani said.
When pressed about whether he thought the erasure was intentional and not just a mistake, Giuliani alluded to the infamous erasure of a Watergate tape by President Nixon’s loyal secretary a half-century earlier.
“It’s actually worse than Rose Mary Woods,” he explained. “She erased less than 19 minutes of conversation, but the FBI got rid of more than 19,000 messages,” and the messages from the time Strzok and Page worked for Mueller are lost forever.
Giuliani said the Russia probe investigators also should be investigated for using the Christopher Steele dossier, which he called a “piece of garbage,” to justify a search warrant on a Trump adviser without telling the court it was paid for by 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party.