The revelation that the FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of anti-Trump agents’ text messages is evoking memories of Lois Lerner, the IRS official whose emails mysteriously disappeared during congressional investigations into her targeting of conservative non-profit groups.
“The [Lois] Lerner thing was huge,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told The Daily Caller. “My gut tells me this is probably bigger.”
On Sunday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) revealed that the FBI recently told the Justice Department that it was unable to find text messages exchanged between FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
The failure stemmed from “misconfiguration issues” on FBI-issued Samsung 5 devices used by “many” FBI agents and officials, Stephen Boyd, the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, told HSGAC. (RELATED: FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Anti-Trump Agents’ Text Messages)
“The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected,” Boyd wrote.
The text message gap spans the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017, according to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC.
That’s a crucial timespan in the FBI’s Russia investigation, which Strzok was picked to oversee in July 2016.
During that period, the infamous Steele dossier was published, Strzok interviewed then-national security adviser Michael Flynn about contacts he had with Russia’s ambassador (he pleaded guilty in December to lying during that interview), and James Comey was fired as FBI director. On the final day of the five-month gap, Robert Mueller was appointed to serve as special counsel on the Russia investigation.