In another mystery surrounding phone texts between two anti-Trump FBI officials, the Justice Department that last week blamed the FBI for failing to preserve five months of texts said six weeks earlier that it had “received” them in August.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has revealed that the IG not only said it had requested the texts now missing, but that they were provided by the FBI.

In a letter demanding that the IG clear up the contrast, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson quoted an earlier letter from the inspector general’s office about the texts between two key figures in the Hillary Clinton email probe, agent Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page.

In that Dec. 6, 2017 letter to Johnson, Michael E. Horowitz, Justice inspector general, said his office received the texts for the period covering the Clinton email server scandal, then asked for others through Johnson’s document request for them.

“Following our review of those text messages, the OIG expanded our request to the FBI to include all text messages between Strzok and Page from November 30, 2016, through the date of the document request, which was July 28, 2017. The OIG received these additional messages on August 10, 2017,” Horowitz wrote to Johnson.

But last week, Justice in its letter to Johnson changed its story. “The department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI motile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page from December 14, 2016 to approximately to May 17, 2017,” the office wrote.

Now Johnson wants to know: Did Justice have the phone texts or not, and did the FBI produce them or not.

“These statements,” he demanded, “need to be reconciled.” The Justice inspector general’s office had no comment.

Those already produced have shown the political bias of the two FBI officials who jumped for the Clinton probe to the Russia probe headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Texts from the two have indicated they did not want President Trump to win the election and that they felt the Russia probe could end in impeachment.

See Johnson’s letter to the IG below.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com