GOP reps demand answers from FBI on missing texts

GOP reps demand answers from FBI on missing texts

Several Republican lawmakers signed off on a letter sent Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray pushing for answers about five months worth of missing text messages between two FBI officials.

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public MORE (R-Fla.) sent the letter seeking information about the FBI’s policies on maintaining communications and retrieving data and the technology that led to a failure to preserve the messages.

The FBI informed the Department of Justice this week that it failed to preserve text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strzok was removed last year from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s team for sending anti-Trump messages.

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The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the missing messages, which the FBI said were not retained because of “misconfiguration issues” with the bureau’s mobile devices.

The missing text messages span from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017, which is when Mueller was appointed as the special counsel to lead an investigation into Russian meddling.

Republican lawmakers, who have used Strzok’s messages to argue Mueller’s probe is biased against the president, have argued the missing messages are the latest indication of political bias within the FBI. 

In an interview Wednesday night, Gaetz called the missing messages the “biggest coincidence since the Immaculate Conception.”

Pressed on what he meant by that, Gaetz inaccurately explained what the Immaculate Conception was, but said he was simply making a point about the absurdity of the coincidence of those texts from that timeframe missing.

The letter notes that during the time of the missing messages "President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE formally took office, Michael Flynn was hired, fired, and interviewed (by Peter Strzok), Buzzfeed published the 'salacious and unverified' dossier, and Robert Mueller was appointed to serve as Special Counsel. The FBI’s message-retention capabilities were suddenly restored on May 17th, the same day Mueller was appointed."

Eight other Republican lawmakers also signed off on the letter, including Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanTestimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Former Ukraine envoy unexpectedly returns to Capitol Hill MORE (Ohio), Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordGOP presidential challengers condemn decision to host G-7 at Trump resort One person shows up to Trump challenger Mark Sanford's formal 2020 campaign kickoff George Conway donates to Trump challenger Joe Walsh MORE (S.C.), Mark DeSantis (Fla.), Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Lawmaker seeks to ban ex-members from lobbying until sexual harassment settlements repaid MORE (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Raúl Labrador (Idaho), Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTestimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Obama: Cummings showed us 'the importance of checks and balances' The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House MORE (N.C.) and Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonDreamers-for-wall trade going nowhere in House Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg denies selling 'anyone's data' | UK Parliament releases more Facebook docs | Canada reportedly arrests Huawei CFO | Fallout from Marriott hack | Cuba rolls out internet service for mobile users Bipartisan bill would create grant program promoting cybersecurity education MORE (Pa.).