More than 15 phones belonging to the investigative team of then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller were ‘wiped’ for a variety of reasons, according to recently released documents from the Department of Justice.
Phones were wiped of information because of forgotten passcodes, irreversible screen damage, loss of the device, intentional deletion or other reasons – coming before the Office of Inspector General (OIG) had a chance to review the devices.
The documents were released after a lawsuit from the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, Fox News reports.
Andrew Weissman and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were among those on the team who had their phones wiped before they got to the Office of Inspector General
Andrew Weissman, Mueller’s deputy, ‘accidentally wiped’ his phone on two occasions after entering the wrong passcode too many times in March 2018. The records show that Lawyer James Quarles’ phone ‘wiped itself’ without his intervention.
A phone belonging to FBI lawyer Lisa Page – who was caught exchanging anti-Trump texts with FBI agent Peter Strzok – was restored to factory settings by the time the inspector general’s office obtained it.
Records show that Lawyer James Quarles’ phone ‘wiped itself’ without his intervention
Attorney Greg Andres also had a phone that was wiped because of a forgotten passcode. Records indicate that the phones of both Kyle Freeny and Rush Atkison were wiped accidentally after the wrong passcode was entered on too many occasions.
Other officials had their names redacted but made claims that they unintentionally restored their phones to their factory settings, which deleted all information pertaining to communication.
One redacted person’s phone was ‘in airplane mode, no passcode provided, data unable to be recovered so had to be wiped.’
The OIG opened the investigation into possible bias in the origins of the Russia Investigation, determining that while there was ‘significant concerns’ with how the investigation was conducted, the FBI did compile with policies when they launched the probe.
The report found that there was no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding the probe’s launch and efforts to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor Carter Page, Trump’s former campaign adviser (pictured)
The report found that there was no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding the probe’s launch and efforts to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor Carter Page, Trump’s former campaign adviser.
It did find, however, that the FBI took part in a number of errors when in the application process. This included at least 17 ‘significant inaccuracies and omissions’ in the Page applications.
Attorney General Bill Barr has publicly disagreed with Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s findings.