Five months worth of text messages between FBI agents have gone missing and President Donald Trump believes Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung has a role in their disappearance.
FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who were having an extramarital affair, exchanged numerous text messages between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017. However, correspondences is among a bigger batch of phone messages that the FBI’s system failed to store.
So, in his latest attempt to shame the bureau for its loss of credibility, Trump targeted the two agents who had criticized Trump when he was a presidential candidate.
In one of the biggest stories in a long time, the FBI now says it is missing five months worth of lovers Strzok-Page texts, perhaps 50,000, and all in prime time. Wow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018
Where are the 50,000 important text messages between FBI lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok? Blaming Samsung!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2018
Trump seems to have exaggerated the number of lost messages in his tweet. The Justice Department states that 50,000 is the total number of messages in the FBI server, not all of which are lost.
However, hundreds of messages — some of which called Trump an “idiot” and “loathsome human” — between Strzok and Page were released last month. The couple was briefly involved in the probe on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email and now Republicans are arguing the FBI is biased against Trump and may have given special treatment to Clinton.
The pair was kicked off special counsel Robert Mueller team after the discovery of the exchanges last month but Trump has continued to criticize the two, even going as far to call the correspondences a “treasonous act.”
Last week, the FBI released more emails to the Congress and Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told lawmakers a technical software glitch in the Samsung 5 devices used by the agency resulted in a failure to “capture or store text messages.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday that his department is reviewing why the messages were not saved and whether there is a chance of them being recovered.
Lawmakers said they were shocked at the incomplete record-keeping. The wiped messages were from the period of time that covers the end of transition to Mueller’s commencement of leading a special probe into alleged Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Republicans have implied the missing text messages may have been intentionally deleted and part of a coverup by the FBI.
“I think he thinks that there's a great cause for concern that five months worth of text messages have gone missing,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “particularly given the individual had part of that process has already been shown to be extremely biased against the president and was involved in what seems to be some very inappropriate behavior and that's certainly a great concern.”
She also said it “looks like there could be some really inappropriate and possibly illegal behavior” at play.
The FBI claims they're "missing" 5 months of text messages between anti-Trump agents, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 23, 2018
The 5 month period where texts are "missing"? It ends May 17, 2017--the exact day the Mueller investigation began.
I mean, come on. #ReleaseTheTexts #ReleaseTheMemo
First the IRS destroyed emails pivotal to our investigation of their political targeting.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 21, 2018
Now the FBI "failed to preserve" texts between Peter Strzok & Lisa Page following the '16 election.
The time for a second special counsel is now.https://t.co/BonrBlsJsB
Prior to the discovery of missing texts, Trump has attacked Strzok and Page in a Wall Street Journal interview and accused them of treason for criticizing him.
“There was no collusion on our side, the collusion was on the Democrat side with the Russians. And what went on with the FBI, where a man is tweeting to his lover that if she loses, we'll essentially go back to the - we'll go to the insurance policy, which is - if they lose, we'll go to phase two, and we'll get this guy out of office… I mean, this is the FBI we're talking about. I think that is — that is treason. See, that's treason right there,” he stated.
He also complained the reputation of the FBI was in tatters because of mismanagement under former FBI Director James Comey.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters