|Perhaps you will recall Rudy Giuliani suggesting nearly two years ago that Robert Mueller’s gang should be investigated for destroying evidence, in particular text messages.|
Now we have more proof that these witch hunters did not want anyone looking into their activities.
We have received 87 pages of records from the Justice Department that show senior members of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office repeatedly and “accidentally” wiped phones assigned to them.
We received the records in response to our September 2019 FOIA lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI over December 17, 2018, FOIA requests (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02693)) for:All records related to the hardware, software and contents of mobile phones issued to FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page for their use while they served on the investigative team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.All records of communication (whether on government or non-.gov email accounts and whether using real names or aliases), with FBI officials relating to the hardware, software and contents of mobile phones issued to FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page for their use while they served on the investigative team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.In a table that appears to be a tabulation of Special Counsel’s Office reviews of phones used by Robert Mueller’s team for records-preservation purposes, 27 phones were reported wiped clean of all data prior to the review having taken place: 20 phones were reported wiped of data due to “accidental wipe” (usually from entering the password too many times);2 phones were reported wiped after placed in airplane mode from which they could not be unlocked because password was forgotten, including the phones of Andrew Weissmann (2 phones) and two deputies of Mueller, Kyle Freeny and Rush Atkinson.1 phone was wiped clean without explanation. There are no records of Robert Mueller’s phone’s ever being reviewed.The review of Lisa Page’s phone reads as follows: “Phone not found, phone found and with DOJ OIG, but according to AMZ on 9/19/18 conversation, the phone was restored to factory settings. Per email from DOJ OIG contact [redacted] on 10/17/18, the phone was restored to factory settings when they received it.”
The review of Strzok’s phone reads as follows: “No substantive texts, notes or reminders.”
In December 2018, the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report regarding the recovery of “thousands of text messages.” The IG “initiated this investigation upon being notified of a gap in text message data collection for the period December 15, 2016, through May 17, 2017, from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) mobile devices assigned to FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.” Because of the content of many of the text messages between Strzok and Page, the IG also asked Mueller’s office for the DOJ-issued iPhones that had been assigned to Strzok and Page. The phone assigned to Strzok had been “reset to factory settings” and “reconfigured for the new user to whom the device was issued.” Page’s iPhone had been reset but had not been reassigned. The IG also said that as the date of its report, the FBI wasn’t reliably collecting text messages of all its employees.
The newly released records include a log of all mobile phones issued to the Mueller team that reveals a total of 25 names, including Robert Mueller himself, along with Strzok, Page and Andrew Weissmann. Eight of the 25 names are redacted under FOIA’s “personal privacy” exemptions.
Forms and emails at the time Lisa Page was leaving the Special Counsel’s Office reveal all she had to do was fill out the government forms and return all equipment issued to her but did not need to go through security and ethics debriefs. In an email from Special Counsel administrative official “LFW” to colleague “SLL,” with subject line, “Employee Exit Form and Certification Checklist,” LFW says: “She has a laptop (which may already be in [redacted] area), a DOJ cell phone & charger, and, perhaps a PIV badge. Since she is not actually leaving employment, the security and ethics debriefs will not have to happen.”
A redacted person in the Special Counsel’s Office (SCO) identified as “PPS1” emails Peter Strzok separation forms on August 9, 2018, with subject line, “SCO Exit Certification Checklist.pdf; ATT00001.htm” for him to fill out before he left the Special Counsel team. A record of the completed forms dated August 11 reveals Strzok had not returned “All non-record material removed from electronic and paper files; location of official paper and electronic records identified; and reference material.
On September 13, 2018, there begins a series of emails running through December 27 seeking to find and review Lisa Page’s mobile phone. On October 17, 2018, at 7:44 am, a redacted records officer in the Special Counsel’s office emails someone named Alicia: “Hope you’re well. I was hoping you could confirm for me that when you all received Lisa Page’s phone that it had been restored to the factory settings and therefore all data was wiped from the device.” A redacted sender responds: “Yes that’s correct, the device had been reset to factory settings.”
On October 22, 2018, at 12:33 pm, a redacted senior special agent in the Justice Department Cyber Investigations Office emails a redacted recipient after learning Lisa Page’s phone had been wiped of all content: “I need to give you a call for a few follow up questions regarding the Strzok/Page phone matter. I have included a snapshot of the narrative included in our memorandum of our meeting on January 26, 2018.”
The following report was attached to the email:
[Redacted] provided the following information regarding this matter. On September 6, 2017, she reviewed Peter Strzok’s phone before turning it over to IT staff for it to be wiped and reissued. She did not find substantive texts, notes, or reminders. She cannot remember if there were no texts on the device or if they were innocuous, but thinks there were none. She explained that if there is such content on the device, she would take screen shots and email them to herself for review and preservation. [Redacted] provided a copy of the spreadsheet she keeps reflecting out-processing iPhone data review. This spreadsheet has been included as Attachment 2. Strzok out-processed on August 10, 2017.
After reviewing Strzok’s phone, she turned it in to either [Redacted] or [Redacted] to wipe and repurpose the phone.
[Redacted] said that she did not receive Page’s phone for review.
On September 20, 2018, Aaron Zebley asks Beth McGarry, “If possible, can I get the dates on which cell phones were assigned to Pete Strzok and Lisa Page? I think the latter is May 28. Thanks.” McGarry forwards the request to Chris Greer asking, “Can you pull this info?” Greer replies, “I am working on it. I asked the team to contact Verizon to see if they can tell us when the phones were provisioned. I verified they both logged into their laptops on May 31, 2017 and I assume the phones were the same day, but am trying to verify.” Further on, Greer adds, “Our airwatch logs may only go back 1 year, so if true, they won’t help. Still waiting to hear if Verizon can help.”
On December 27, 2018, there begins a series of emails discussing Rudy Giuliani’s remarks to reporters that the Special Counsel’s Office should be investigated for “destruction of evidence,” in which Zebley writes:
FYI: The determination that Pete Strzok’s phone had no SCO-era text messages was made by the IG in the course of its investigation of text messages. Also, the IG report notes on pp 1-21 that the OIG asked us for Pete’s phone six months after his assignments had ended and, on the bottom of page 10, the report reads:
Upon review of a draft of this report, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General told the OIG that the Department routinely resets mobile devices to factory settings when the device is returned from a user to enable that device to be issued to another user in the future.
On September 21, 2018, at 11:48 am, Zebley (AMZ) in the Special Counsel’s Office sends information for a draft report to redacted recipient who confirms it as accurate:
As part of an office records retention procedure, an SCO Records Officer reviewed text message on Strzok’s DOJ issued iPhone after he returned it to the SCO and determined it contained no substantive text messages.
Strozk completed his Exit Clearance Certification and returned his DOJ issued iPhone in early August 2017.
As part of an office records retention procedure, an SCO Records Officer reviewed text message on Strzok’s DOJ issued iPhone after it was returned. [fn] The SCO Records Officer noted in her records log about Strzok’s phone: “No substantive texts, notes or reminders.” [Redacted]
Zebley adds a “new sentence” which is also affirmed: “The SCO Records Officer does not recall there being any texts on Strzok’s phone, and she made an identical log entry for another phone reviewed on the same day that she specifically recalls having no text messages.”
On January 26, 2018, at 5:39 pm, JMD’s Christopher Greer emails a redacted person in the Special Counsel Administrative Office, asking: “Do you know where Lisa Page’s iPhone is? I know the SCO policy was to reuse them and not hold, but wanted to check with you first. The asset tag is T66438.” The administrator replies: “Yes, I know it is missing. We discovered that first. It is not in UAPM [Unified Asset & Property Management] and doesn’t appear to be anywhere at PP1.
At 7:06 pm, Greer responds: “OIG wants to speak with me about it Monday. Beth [McGarry, executive officer of Mueller’s special counsel team] sent them my way. Should I redirect to you or move forward with speaking with them?” The SOC administrator replies: “Move forward with them. I was going to reach out to you about searching RFK [Main Justice], but Beth asked me to hold off.”
On January 31, 2019, LFW sends an email to SLL with subject line “Cell Phone Numbers,” writing: “One last number that will need to be canceled, but not until after we consult with OIG. Pete Strzok [redacted] number was never canceled [redacted]. We have not yet received the phone back, either.”
The pandemic of ‘wiped’ phones among the Mueller team requires a criminal investigation of this destruction of evidence and potential obstruction of justice and other crimes. The DOJ and FBI hid these records for nearly two years – which only adds to appearance of a cover-up.
Did Mueller Lie to the House Judiciary Committee?
Robert Mueller denied that President Trump interviewed him for consideration as Director of the FBI just one day before he was appointed to lead the Russia collusion investigation. New evidence coming to light disputes this.
We have received 47 pages of documents from the Department of Justice that include a May 17, 2017, email documenting that Robert Mueller informed the Attorney General’s office he was withdrawing from consideration for director of the FBI.
This recently released email raises new questions about Mueller’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on July 24, 2019, where he said a May 16, 2017 interview with President Donald Trump was “not about me applying for the job” as FBI director.
The emails were produced in our February 2, 2019, FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice for all records of communications of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein between May 8 and May 17, 2017 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00481)).
In the May 17, 2017, email Rosenstein writes to then-Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt with the subject line: “Mueller” and states: “Withdrew from consideration for FBI director.”
Hunt responds: “[redacted] called this morning and also withdrew his name from consideration.”
On the same day, Rosenstein appointed Mueller special counsel for the Russia investigation.
On July 24, 2019, Mueller, testified about whether he was interviewed for the FBI Director position in an exchange with Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL):
STEUBE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Mueller, over here. Mr. Mueller did you indeed interview for the FBI director job one day before you were appointed as Special Counsel?
MUELLER: My understanding I was not applying for that job, I was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job, which triggered the interview you’re talking about.
STEUBE: So you don’t recall on May 16th, 2017 that you interviewed with the president regarding the FBI director job?
MUELLER: I interviewed with the president and it was about…
STEUBE: Regarding the FBI director job?
MUELLER: …it was about the job and not about me applying for the job.
STEUBE: So your statement here today is that you didn’t interview to apply for the FBI director job?
MUELLER: That’s correct.
STEUBE: So it – did you tell the vice president that the FBI director position would be the one job that you would come back to – for?
MUELLER: I don’t recall that one.
STEUBE: You don’t recall that?
President Trump said that Mueller did indeed “apply and interview” for the FBI director job and that claims otherwise presented a conflict of interest that should have kept him out of the Russia investigation.
The president tweeted on July 24, 2019, the day of Mueller’s House testimony: “It has been reported that Robert Mueller is saying that he did not apply and interview for the job of FBI Director (and get turned down) the day before he was wrongfully appointed Special Counsel. Hope he doesn’t say that under oath in that we have numerous witnesses to the interview, including the Vice President of the United States!”
The latest production of documents from the DOJ also includes a letter dated May 19, 2017, from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to President Trump in which the senator recommends Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for the director’s position at the bureau.
Feinstein writes that McCabe “has demonstrated leadership and excellence while engaged in some of the most high-profile and complex cases.”
Feinstein goes on to conclude: “During my time on both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have been impressed by Mr. McCabe and believe him to be a man of honor. He is exactly the kind of person we need leading the FBI right now, and I hope you give him strong consideration.”
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in 2018 detailing multiple instances in which McCabe “lacked candor” with FBI Director James Comey, FBI investigators, and inspector general investigators about his authorization to leak sensitive information to the Wall Street Journal that revealed the existence of an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
On March 16, 2018, McCabe was fired by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
After stonewalling on our FOIA requests for years, the FBI in late July agreed to release McCabe’s text messages, though have yet to release any of them.
The corrupted Justice Department and FBI inexcusably hid these and other smoking gun records about Mueller and Rosenstein for nearly three years. It is well past time for a serious independent investigation of Mueller and his abusive special counsel operation.
In February 2020, we uncovered Rosenstein’s communications with former Obama officials, such as Eric Holder, as well as information sharing with the media in the days immediately surrounding the inception of the Mueller investigation.
In October 2019, through this same lawsuit, we uncovered Rosenstein’s communications from this lawsuit that included a one-line email Mueller stating: “The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions,” as well as “off the record” emails with major media outlets around the date of Mueller’s appointment.
In September 2019, through a separate lawsuit, we uncovered records from the Department of Justice showing officials’ efforts in responding to media inquiries about DOJ/FBI talks allegedly invoking the 25th Amendment to “remove” President Donald Trump from office and Rosenstein offering to wear a “wire” to record his conversations with the president. Later that month, we uncovered a two-page memo, dated May 16, 2017, by then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe detailing how Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire into the Oval Office “to collect additional evidence on the president’s true intentions.” McCabe wrote that Rosenstein said he thought it was possible because “he was not searched when he entered the White House.”
We’ve laid bare the multiple conspiracies at Justice and the FBI and it well past time that the DOJ or some other federal law enforcement agency do something about it.
Judicial Watch Court Battle for Joe Biden’s Senate Records at the University of Delaware
What does Joe Biden not want the American people to see in his Senate records hidden away at the University of Delaware? A sexual assault complaint? Notes on conversations with Putin?
We intend to find out.
We just filed a new brief in our lawsuit for access to former Vice President Joe Biden’s Senate records at the University of Delaware. This court filing comes in the lawsuit we filed with the Daily Caller News Foundation after a Delaware Attorney General’s opinion denied us access to the records, which are housed at the university’s library (Daily Caller News Foundation v. University of Delaware (No. N20A-07-001)).
We filed this Delaware FOIA lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware on July 2, 2020. Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation are being represented by Delaware lawyers Ted Kittila and Bill Green of Halloran Farkas + Kittila LLP.
The lawsuit is challenging a state attorney general opinion that the Biden records are not “public records” because, the opinion concludes without evidence, no public funds are used to support the Biden records project at the University of Delaware.
We responded in court that it is impossible for the Biden Senate documents, which are housed in the University of Delaware’s Library, to not be supported by public funds. We note that the University admitted that “[t]he State of Delaware provides the University with approximately $120 million each year through an appropriation in the state budget,” but never shows how public funds are not used to support the papers.
We further point out that “archival storage space and professional staff members’ time are things of value that it can be inferred are paid for with public funds,” and notes that the requests even listed the, “University personnel who maintain the Senatorial Papers whose salaries, it can be inferred, are paid with State funds.” We’re requesting that the Court order the University to search for and produce the requested records.
“Anyone running for public office, especially our highest office, should expect public scrutiny of their record, especially of their public record,” said Daily Caller News Foundation President Neil Patel. “It’s amazing that Joe Biden’s public papers are still sealed and nobody else in the press seems to care. We care and we are going to fight to get these records opened up as they should be.”
I would add that Delaware is hiding, in violation of law, Joe Biden’s Senate records. It is time for the University of Delaware to stop protecting Joe Biden and follow Delaware law, which requires them to provide public access to these public records.
We filed our FOIA lawsuit after the University denied our April 30, 2020, FOIA request for:All records regarding the proposed release of the records pertaining to former Vice President Joe Biden’s tenure as a Senator that have been housed at the University of Delaware Library since 2012. This request includes all related records of communication between the University of Delaware and any other records created pertaining to any meeting of the Board of Trustees during which the proposed release of the records was discussed.All records of communication between any representative of the University of Delaware and former Vice President Biden or any other individual acting on his behalf between January 1, 2018 and the present.On April 30, the Daily Caller News Foundation submitted its FOIA request to the University for:All agreements concerning the storage of more than 1,850 boxes of archival records and 415 gigabytes of electronic records from Joe Biden’s senate career from 1973 through 2009.Communications between the staff of the University of Delaware Library and Joe Biden or his senatorial, vice-presidential or political campaign staff, or for anyone representing any of those entities between 2010 [April 30,2020] about Joe Biden’s senate records.Any logs or sign-in sheets recording any individuals who have visited the special-collections department where records from Joe Biden’s senate career are stored between 2010 to the date of this request.All records from Joe Biden’s Senate career that have been submitted to the University of Delaware Library.Tara Reade, who accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when she worked as a staff assistant to the then-senator, has said that she believes a workplace discrimination and harassment complaint she filed against Biden at the time may be in the records housed at the University of Delaware. Biden also admitted to communicating with Vladimir Putin and other foreign leaders when he was a United State Senator.
We Must Never Forget
I was on the tarmac set to take off from Dulles Airport to travel to LA to tape an appearance on Bill Maher’s show nineteen years ago on 9/11/01. My plane never took off. Conservative activist and lawyer Barbara Olson was also flying out of Dulles for Maher’s show, but her plane, AA #77, had just taken off and was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. What a horrible day that was…
Judicial Watch sprung into action and through diligent and persistent investigation uncovered revelation after revelation about the failures and cover-ups tied to the 9/11 conspiracy. In fact, we still have lawsuits pending connected to the 9/11 terror attacks.
And let’s not forget today is the anniversary of the Benghazi attack, which occurred on 9/11/12. Judicial Watch’s investigation of this egregious scandal stands as the most important non-governmental investigation in American history – as it resulted of the Benghazi Select Committee and the uncovering of the Clinton email scandal.
We won’t forget and, with your support, Judicial Watch keep pushing where we can on accountability on the attacks and on terrorism generally.
Until next week …