As President Donald Trump raged against “angry Democrats” in a tweet Saturday, he repeated a lie that 19,000 FBI texts had been deliberately deleted and were missing. More than 20,000 FBI agent texts lost in a technological glitch were recovered, which was clearly stated in a report early this month by the Office of the Inspector General in Trump’s own Justice Department.
“All Texts Demanded!” Trump tweeted, claiming “Mueller Angry Democrats” recently “deleted approximately 19,000 Text messages” between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and his girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. “This is a total Obstruction of Justice,” he added.
Strzok was fired in August for derogatory comments about Trump he sent to Page, who resigned in May.
More than 19,000 texts were found to be missing during the investigation into the communication between the two. But the OIG determined that the texts were missing due to technological glitches in the FBI’s data-collection tool and not because of malicious intent. There was “no evidence” that Strzok and Page “attempted to circumvent” the FBI’s data-retention policies, the report concluded.
There was no mention of deliberate deletion by “the Mueller Angry Democrats.”
More than 20,000 texts were recovered, according to the OIG report.
The OIG forensically recovered thousands of text messages from FBI mobile devices issued to Strzok and Page through its multiple extraction efforts. Approximately 9,311 text messages were recovered from Strzok’s S5 during the collection tool failure period. Approximately 10,760 text messages were recovered from Page’s S5 during the collection tool failure period.
Thousands of the texts, possibly all of them, were provided to congressional investigators by the Justice Department in January and detailed in press reports. A number of the texts also appeared in a June report by the OIG.
Trump tweeted the same accusation about deleted texts on Dec. 15 saying the messages were “wiped clean and gone.” He was quoting an inaccurate story in the right-wing publication The Federalist, which stated that the texts were “wiped clean” and “destroyed.”
And again, three days later, Trump tweeted: