Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz told congressional leaders Thursday that his office, using forensic tools, has been able to successfully recover missing text messages between two senior FBI officials who investigated President Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Some Republicans have said text messages between senior FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that were critical of Trump prove there is political bias at the top of the bureau, while Democrats say Republicans are using this as a way to derail the investigation and protect Trump. Strzok and Page worked on both Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, and Strzok was removed from the Mueller probe when it was discovered he was romantically linked to Page and they had been exchanging questionable text messages about several high-profile people, including Trump, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Chelsea Clinton. Page left the investigation two weeks earlier, for unrelated reasons.
Last week, Congress was told that five months of texts between the pair could not be found, and a Justice Department official said because of a glitch with Samsung 5 mobile devices, the FBI was unable to save texts sent from thousands of FBI-issued phones. In his letter Thursday, Horowitz said he would provide copies of the texts to the Justice Department and believes it would be appropriate if they were turned over to Congress.