FBI unable to preserve some text messages from agent removed from Mueller probe

FBI unable to preserve some text messages from agent removed from Mueller probe
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The FBI was unable to preserve some text messages between two agents who have been accused of anti-Trump bias, including one who previously served on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE’s team, according to a letter from the bureau to lawmakers.

The FBI said it did not have a record of messages exchanged over a six-month period between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page because many of its issued mobile phones had problems related to “rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades.” 

“The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected,” the FBI explained in the letter.

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Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator calls impeachment 'sabotage' effort, raises questions about witness on eve of testimony GOP invites Republican senator to provide information in impeachment inquiry Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP MORE (R-Wis.) expressed concerns over the missing messages, according to a letter he sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, obtained Sunday by The Hill.

Strzok, who also worked on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race In 2020, democracy will be decided at the margins Michelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award MORE’s use of a private email server, was removed last summer from Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia after it was discovered he had sent anti-Trump messages. 

Some Republicans seized on the news as an indication that Mueller’s probe was biased against President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE

The missing messages were sent between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017, according to Johnson’s letter. 

The Justice Department on Friday also provided Johnson with 384 pages of additional messages between Strzok and Page, according to the letter.

One exchange, disclosed in Johnson's letter, shows the two agents criticizing the timing of then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s announcement that she would accept the FBI’s recommendation on the Clinton email investigation.

Johnson, who chairs the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asks Wray to explain the scope of the missing messages, and if the FBI has searched Strzok's and Page's non-FBI phones for possible federal records.