Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley called Wednesday for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release unredacted copies of the texts between two former FBI employees who were highly critical of President Donald Trump.
“Please provide unredacted copies of all text messages produced to the Committee no later than June, 6, 2018,” Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, wrote in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “Should the Department continue to refuse to provide fully unreacted copies to Congress, please provide a privilege log describing the legal basis for withholding that information from Congress.”
The chairman claims one redaction covered the costs of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table. He also points to one text exchange wherein an official’s name is redacted in reference to the “Obama White House ‘running’ an investigation,” making it unclear what investigation the FBI employees were referencing.
The DOJ released 49 pages, or around 300 text messages, between FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI counsel Lisa Page, who were in an ongoing, intimate relationship. The DOJ was able to recover the text messages, which were exchanged between Dec. 16, 2017 and May 23, 2017, after they were believed to be missing from a technological failure on the part of FBI-issued cell phones. (RELATED: Read The Strzok-Page Texts In Full)
The Daily Caller News Foundation exclusively obtained the texts, illustrating just how many are redacted and how difficult it is to ascertain meaning from them. Grassley’s committee is attempting to wade through the unredacted copies in order to glean insight into what Strzok and Page were discussing and any motives behind the message. (RELATED: GOP Calls For DOJ Investigation Into Strzok, Page, Clinton And Comey)
Republican lawmakers are concerned with texts that show Strzok texted Page to tell her that senior FBI officials “water(ed) down the reference to President [Barack] Obama,” using “senior government official” instead. At the time the statement was made public, the lawmakers argue, references to Obama and to a “senior government official” were washed from the record.
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