(Liberty Bell) – GOP lawmakers are demanding answers as to why cellphones belonging to members of the Mueller probe were wiped for various–and highly suspicious–reasons during the course of their high-profile investigation.
Fox News reports that members of the GOP insist on finding out whether the phones were wiped intentionally are not before they could be reviewed by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
The reasons as to the phones just happened to all end up wiped range from supposedly forgotten passwords, screen damage, intentional wiping, or just flat-out loss.
Either these people were utterly incompetent or they were up to something.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) issued the letter to Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday, asking for information about what was done to try to recover the information that had been deleted from the phones.
“It appears that Special Counsel Mueller’s team may have deleted federal records that could be key to better understanding their decision-making process as they pursued their investigation and wrote their report,” Grassley wrote.
“Indeed, many officials apparently deleted the records after the DOJ Inspector General began his inquiry into how the Department mishandled Crossfire Hurricane,” he continued.
He continued, saying that “based on this new information, the number of times and the stated reasons for the deletions calls into question whether or not it was a widespread intentional effort.”
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R) told Fox News that the story of these phones had him “outraged.”
“I’m not a lawyer, but I am aware of the concept of anticipatory obstruction of justice,” Johnson told the outlet.
He said “accidentally wiping a phone because you entered the wrong password too many times” makes him “HIGHLY skeptical,” and that for a dozen people to have made “the same mistake is COMPLETELY unbelievable.”
“This needs to be fully investigated,” he said.
He also told the outlet he’s requested a phone call with Wray.
Meanwhile, Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), also echoed this sentiment, saying that it is an “amazing coincidence” for all these people to have lost the data on their phones.
“It’s an amazing coincidence that all these professional investigators kept accidentally wiping their phones,” Nunes told Fox News. “You’d think these people could come up with a more believable excuse for hiding evidence.”
According to the new justice Department records, Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann “accidentally wiped” his phone–twice–after entering the wrong password too many times back in March of 2018.
This guy was one of the top prosecutors in the Justice Department and was working on a highly-politicized case involving a sitting president of the United States.
The only remotely acceptable excuse is he’s an absolute fool, which doesn’t really make it any better.
Meanwhile, lawyer James Quarles’ phone “wiped itself” somehow, apparently magically, as he claims to have not been involved.
How many times has your phone just wiped itself?
In addition, the records indicate attorney Greg Andres’ phone was also wiped due to a forgotten passcode. The documents also say the phones of both Mueller deputy Kyle Freeny and Rush Atkinson were wiped accidentally after they entered the wrong passcode too many times.
A phone belonging to FBI lawyer Lisa Page was restored to factory settings when the inspector general’s office received it, according to the records.
Other officials, whose names were redacted from the report, claim that they unintentionally returned their phone to its factory settings, which deletes all records of communication.
“Phone was in airplane mode, no passcode provided, data unable to be recovered so had to be wiped,” the report states next to the name of one redacted person.
“If you can’t manage your own phone, why should we trust you to investigate a crime?” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News’ Hannity in reaction.
He explained that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been tasked with investigating the origins of the Russia probe, needs to examine whether they obstructed justice or intentionally deleted the information.
Oh really, you think? SMH.
“My job, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is to find out how the Department of Justice and the FBI got Crossfire Hurricane so wrong, why they lied to the FISA court, [and] to make sure it never happens again,” Graham said.