Last week, newly revealed records obtained by Judicial Watch showed that several members of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel team completely wiped their phones before handing them over to the Department of Justice’s Inspector General. According to the documents, more than 24 phones belonging to members of the team were purged of all information before being given to the IG.
In some cases, the phones were said to have been intentionally wiped before being reassigned to other FBI members. In others, the excuse is that the phones were “accidentally” wiped.
In this latter case, the documents explain that some of the phones were inadvertently wiped of all data when the owner tried to enter the wrong password too many times. Another phone – this one belonging to infamous FBI lawyer Lisa Page – was “restored to factory settings” upon being handed over to the Office of the Inspector General.
Among those who reportedly wiped their phones inadvertently was top investigator Andrew Weissman.
“He entered the password too many times and wiped the phone,” revealed the document.
In an interview with reporter John Solomon this week, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the DOJ should launch a criminal investigation into the wiped phones.
“And when you have people wipe two or three phones like Andrew Weissman did—I think two of the three phones he had were wiped—it just strains credulity,” Fitton said.
The controversy has attracted attention from top Republican lawmakers, up to and including the President.
“So now we find out that the entire Mueller ‘hit squad’ illegally wiped their phones clean just prior to the investigation of them,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.
In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that even if you did buy the “accidental” wiping as an excuse, that only casts further doubt on the competence of Mueller’s team.
“If you can’t manage your own phone, why should we trust you to investigate a crime?” asked Graham. “The question is, did they obstruct justice, did they intentionally delete information from their phone because [Inspector General Michael] Horowitz was on the case?”
Rep. Devin Nunes told “Sunday Morning Futures” this weekend that the timing of the wipes was suspicious as well.
“It looks like it occurred at a very interesting time; this is when the lovebirds’ text messages were discovered,” Nunes said. “So the question here is: Was there an investigation? Because if there was, that could be obstruction of justice. But I think regardless of that, this is destruction of federal records. We cannot have a justice system — whether it’s at the federal level, or the state level, or the local level — where records are being destroyed.”
At least Weissman and Mueller aren’t asking us questions like, “With a cloth?”