The missing text messages between FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok have been located, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., in a letter Thursday.
The text messages were missing from a critical five-month period — Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017 — because of an alleged technical issue on FBI-issued mobile phones.
“[F]orensic tools,” were successfully used to retrieve the texts, the inspector general said.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week that he had asked the inspector general to figure out if the text messages — roughly 50,000 — were retrievable.
“Our effort to recover any additional text messages is ongoing,” Horowitz said Thursday, adding copies will be provided to Justice Department leadership so it can then determine “any management action it deems appropriate.”
Horowitz also said he “would have no objection” to the Justice Department providing the messges to the two committees as part of their respective document requests.
Strzok and Page both served on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team last year, and also worked on the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server in 2016 — making the missing messages the center of a controversy, and adding fuel to Republican lawmakers claims that the Justice Department and FBI could have been biased in the aforementioned investigations.
That five-month stretch of missing text messages included President Trump’s inauguration, the firings of FBI Director James Comey and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the appointment of Mueller.