The Justice Department has turned over to Congress “less than 15 percent of the texts between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page,” according to an editorial at the Washington Times by Byron York.
These will likely be the only texts that Congress will receive for the foreseeable future as the department is still investigating the “missing texts” that the FBI suddenly announced were no longer present in their archives. Of course, these texts were also transmitted during the first few months of the Trump-Russia investigation, under which FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Trump.
York states that the Justice Department has identified about 50,000 Strzok-Page texts, with an unknown number of missing texts transmitted between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017. Unfortunately, this includes only the texts sent and received on the government issued Samsung phones. In a few instances however, the two FBI officials would switch to their personal Apple phones during conversation on their official FBI-issued ones.
This begs the question: were they discussing matters relating to the FBI on these personal phones? Byron York asks another question, “what was so sensitive that they couldn’t discuss on their work phones?”
Neither the public or Congress currently know anything about these texts as they have not been turned over. The total number of texts are also not known.
What we do know about these 50,000 texts?
The Justice Department has turned over an estimated 7,000 texts out of the 50,000 total. The texts were turned over to Congress in two separate batches. The remaining additional texts that were lost by the FBI are being recovered and we can assume that many of them will be released.
However, Congress has been told by the officials in the Department of Justice that those 7,000 texts will be the only ones they or the general public will be seeing of the 50,000.
Slightly less than 15 percent of the total number of texts will ever be released of the 50,000 Strzok-Page texts. The conclusion made by the DOJ officials now refer to a January 19th letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd in which he stated that the Department of Justice will not be providing the text messages that they consider to be “purely personal in nature.”
Boyd states in the letter that they were doing Congress a favor in redacting these messages because Congress would not have 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.”
Robert Mueller is Advising the Department of Justice on what to release from the Strzok-Page texts
One of the most troubling portions of the letter, Boyd states that the Department of Justice consulted with the office of the special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
The special prosecutor, tasked with investigating Trump-Russia collusion for several months now, instructed the Department of Justice to redact anything “related to the structure, operation, and substance of the [Special Counsel’s Office]’s investigation because it is ongoing.”
Mueller’s investigation was given an (illegally) unlimited scope to investigate by Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the wake of the recusal by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Justice Department regulations only allow for a limited scope of investigation with special counsel appointments. Any expansion of the investigation must be taken to the Attorney General, or Acting Attorney General in this case, for their clearance. The Special Counsel is currently being challenged by Paul Manafort, who filed suit to obtain an injunction to stop him from exercising his extralegal authority.
The ramifications of that appointment is being felt in this case. Robert Mueller’s appointment directive grants the Special Counsel the ability to redact an untold number of texts because his investigation’s substance is whatever he states it to be under the directive.
That the Department of Justice is asking the Special Counsel, who has his own history of corruption at the FBI and other agencies, redact texts that relate to bias and corruption at the FBI, is startling.
Relation to #ReleasetheMemo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and relationship with assistant attorney general stephen boyd
As Byron York stated, the bottom line is that the Department of Justice has released a very small percentage of the Strzok-Page texts. He wonders openly, as do I, if 43,000 texts of the 50,000 were entirely of a “personal nature.” I would take it a step further and ask if the Department of Justice is again trying to defend the blatantly corrupt practices of the previous administration that have continued well into the Trump administration.
And then, there is the question of those formerly missing texts. How many are there? How many will have something to do with Trump-Russia or Clinton emails? 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.
The secretive investigation into President Trump’s life by the special counsel has been an exercise in a vast abuse of power that has been allowed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions far longer than it should have.
There has been great betrayals by the Republican party in the past, but the depth and staggering nature that the current Attorney General has been allowing to be perpetrated against his sitting President is astounding.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has remained recused from anything to do with the Trump-Russia investigation when countless conflicts of interest have been ignored by those serving under him with McCabe, Rosenstein, Mueller, and others. Vast corruption is being exposed and widespread abuse is being alleged and reported by multiple outlets, and still, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is steadfast in his recusal.
It seems that the Attorney General of the United States is more interested in drug busts and going after illegal aliens than he is in being the Attorney General of a massive Department in desperate need of a widespread draining of corruption. The Attorney General would be better suited for a department where he could do much less damage to the Trump administration, like the Department of Homeland Security or as head of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The only reason this Attorney General seems to be in this position for, at this point, is to block any and all avenues of accountability and open government. The Attorney General has had all the information he needs at his fingertips and refuses to act.
Mueller’s investigation has gone on months longer than necessary and infinitely longer than it should have without any necessary oversight.
The FBI has been shown to be a corrupt, politically active organization with intent to overthrow the government in favor of their own candidate.
The FISA courts were allowed to be abused by the many of the same actors who are still employed with the government they sought to destroy. Many more are walking free after they illegally violated the constitutionally guaranteed civil rights of Americans.
In fact, it has fallen to outside organizations like Judicial Watch and Congress to forcibly provide oversight to a rogue Department of Justice. It boggles the mind that President Donald Trump, who has a reputation of firing people, continues to do nothing to end this Attorney General’s reign.
So when President Trump told the Department of Justice that they would be releasing the classified memo after Congress approves, this was a surprising development. And predictably, the Department of Justice fired back at the proposed release of the document, calling it “extremely reckless.”
Who issued that statement? None other than Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd.
The same Stephen Boyd who was recommended for the position by none of than Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The very same Stephen Boyd who served as Senator Jeff Sessions communications director.
Yes, the very same Stephen Boyd who is colluding with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to prevent the Strzok-Page texts from being released to Congress.
To summarize, Boyd, who is clearly Sessions’ man, is stating the Department of Justice’ intent to block the release of evidence which may exonerate Trump while Mueller goes after him like a rabid attack dog. Say, wasn’t there another case like this where the Feds tried to conceal exculpatory evidence?
Sessions is therefore colluding with Mueller to damage the president he serves. This farce must not go on any longer. Based on this evidence, when will the President fire the Attorney General?
UPDATE: The House Intelligence Committee is Voting tomorrow
At 5 PM EST, House Republicans are expected to vote on the Intelligence Committee to release the memo summarizing the abuses by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
President Trump is expected to call for its release in defiance of the Department of Justice and Democrat objections.
On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued what looks to be an apology to Congress in a speech in Norfolk, Virginia where he stated that “A culture of defensiveness is not acceptable.” Sessions admitted that the Department of Justice has been overly defensive to outside oversight.
As his appointed lieutenants continue to harass and stonewall Congress, the recused Attorney General had little more than words to offer up to the audience adding, “We don’t see criticism from Congress as a bad thing.”
Sessions continued, “We welcome Congress as a partner in this effort [to improve the Justice Department]. When they learn of a problem and start asking questions, that is a good thing. Sunlight truly is the best disinfectant. Truth produces confidence.”
Byron York in the Washington Examiner added, “Upon hearing Sessions’ speech, a number of Republicans had a reaction along the lines of: That’s nice — now, how about doing something about it?”
Since he’s recusing himself from the situation that is unfolding between the Department of Justice and Congress, the hapless Attorney General is not the one making decisions. However, he is doing everything he could to block the release of the memo, calling chief of staff John Kelly twice to demand that he convince the President to deny releasing the memo.