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) GaetzHouse panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops House panel votes to limit Trump's Germany withdrawal Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report 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 JordanGOP-Trump fractures on masks open up Democrats start cracking down on masks for lawmakers Comer tapped to serve as top Republican on House Oversight MORE (Ohio), Mark SanfordMark SanfordCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama The Memo: Can the Never Trumpers succeed? MORE (S.C.), Mark DeSantis (Fla.), Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Raúl Labrador (Idaho), Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsAtlanta airport checkpoint closed after worker tests positive for coronavirus House Republicans urge White House to support TSA giving travelers temperature checks The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE (N.C.) and Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonSheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Koch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Dreamers-for-wall trade going nowhere in House MORE (Pa.).