When the FBI suppresses potential evidence, and claims the authority to do so, it asks as if the institution is not under suspicion.
When the FBI suppresses texts for allegedly legitimate reasons, the only way Congress can go along with the suppression is because they think the FBI is trustworthy. Byron York has interviewed a lot of people to figure out how many texts are being withheld from Congress. His conclusion is that they have only turned over a relatively few texts.
York writes at the Washington Examiner, “Justice Department withholds majority of FBI texts.”
The Justice Department has identified about 50,000 Strzok-Page texts. But that is apart from the texts between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 that were declared missing a week ago but are now being recovered. So, the total is apparently 50,000 plus the currently unknown number of formerly missing texts.
But that number refers only to the Strzok-Page texts that were sent and received on FBI-issued Samsung phones. There are a number of instances in the texts in which the two officials say that they should switch the conversation to iMessage, suggesting they continued to talk about FBI matters on personal Apple phones.
After crunching some numbers, York writes:
That means Justice has decided to allow Congress to see just 4,000 to 7,000 of a total of 50,000 Strzok-Page texts – even the larger number is slightly less than 15 percent of the total number of texts the Justice Department has now. Why is that? Justice Department officials point to a Jan. 19 letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to Capitol Hill investigators explaining which texts would and would not be turned over.
“The department is not providing text messages that were purely personal in nature,” Boyd wrote. “Furthermore, the department has redacted from some work-related text messages portions that were purely personal. […]”
Finally – and this could be significant or not – Boyd said that “in a few instances,” the Justice Department consulted with the office of Trump-Russia special prosecutor Robert Mueller and made some redactions “related to the structure, operation, and substance of the [Special Counsel’s Office]’s investigation because it is ongoing.” Hill investigators don’t really know what that covers.
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