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 MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 JohnsonHillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping Lawmakers demand answers on Border Patrol data breach 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 ClintonBroadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Broadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Facing challenge from Warren, Sanders touts strength against Trump 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 TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants 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.