Out of 50,000 texts between anti-Trump FBI investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – not including an unknown number of recently found texts, the DOJ has submitted a mere 7,000 to Congressional investigators – just 14%, reports the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York.
The majority of the withheld messages were deemed “pesonal” or withheld for other reasons, according to York.
Also notable, according to York, is that the 50,000 Strzok-Page texts only include messages sent and received on FBI-issued Samsung phones – despite several text messages which make clear that the two agents also discussed their politically tainted investigations over their personal iPhones using iMessage.
For investigators, those are particularly intriguing texts – what was so sensitive that they couldn’t discuss on their work phones? – but the number of those texts is unknown. And of course, they have not been turned over to Congress. –Washington Examiner
In a January 19 letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to Congressional investigators, the DOJ said that they would not be providing “purely personal” text messages.
Of the 50k, DOJ has turned over less than 15% to Congress. That’s all Congress is gonna get from the 50k. Majority deemed personal, or withheld for other reasons. 2/3 https://t.co/7El2KZIePT
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 27, 2018
“The department is not providing text messages that were purely personal in nature,” Boyd wrote. “Furthermore, the department has redacted from some work-related text messages portions that were purely personal. The department’s aim in withholding purely personal text messages and redacting personal portions of work-related text messages was primarily to facilitate the committee’s access to potentially relevant text messages without having to cull through large quantities of material unrelated to either the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server or the investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”
Lastly, York notes that Boyd says special counsel Robert Mueller made redactions to the texts “in a few instances,” which were “related to the structure, operation, and substance” of the Special Counsel’s investigation because it is ongoing. The DOJ told Congress that they would “work with” them to further describe or even reveal redacted information in a “closed setting.”
As for the formerly missing text messages spanning December 14, 2016 through May 17, 2017, there are several unanswered questions. As The Examiner notes:
The time period involved, Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, covered some of the key moments in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump-Russia affair: conversations between Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak; the completion and publication of the intelligence community assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election; the briefing in which FBI director James Comey told President-elect Donald Trump about the Trump dossier; the president’s inauguration; the nomination and confirmation of new Justice Department leadership; Flynn’s interview with the FBI (conducted by Strzok); Comey’s assurances to Trump that he, Trump, was not under investigation; a variety of revelations, mostly in the Washington Post and New York Times, about various Trump figures under investigation; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe; the firing of top Obama Justice Department holdover Sally Yates; Trump’s tweet alleging he was wiretapped; Trump’s firing of Comey; and, finally, the appointment of Mueller.
Alas, it appears that the vast majority of text messages between the anti-Trump FBI investigators will remain in the dark for “personal” or “other reasons,” despite the fact that they may shed further light on the agents’ personalities, motivations, and the extent of their extreme political bias which clearly played a significant role in their investigations.