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Palmer says that destruction of evidence is becoming the norm

Alabama Republican Congressman Gary Palmer.

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, released a statement after it was reported that the FBI text messages exchanged between agents critical of President Donald Trump had been destroyed and might be un-retrievable.

“The revelation that thousands of text messages exchanged between FBI agents critical of President Trump is reminiscent of what has happened in other investigations of potential and actual government misconduct,” Palmer said. “For instance, backup tapes containing thousands of Lois Lerner’s emails were destroyed, even though the emails were under an evidence preservation order. Lerner was being investigated for using her position at the IRS to harass conservative tax-exempt organizations that were considered political enemies of the Obama Administration.”

“When the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology sought text message records from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy they found that she had permanently deleted almost 6,000, claiming they were all personal,” Palmer continued. “According to the FBI, within days of a conference call with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lawyers, an engineer with Platte River Network deleted emails from her private server despite knowing that the emails were under an evidence preservation order and a subpoena. As if destroying Ms. Clinton’s emails were not enough, a laptop containing a copy of her emails from her private server – along with a thumb drive – were ‘lost’ in the postal mail.”

“It would appear that the preferred method of responding to investigations involving electronic communications and the potential for cover ups is the destruction of the storage mechanism or of the entire device,” Palmer said. “In regard to the latest incident of the ‘lost’ text messages by the FBI, I am heartened to know that Attorney General Jeff Sessions considers this to be a serious matter and is committed to ‘…leaving no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available.’ This latest revelation about possible political bias only adds to the outrage of millions of Americans who are very concerned about the potential serious violations of law and civil liberties by members of the FBI and others. I commend House Oversight Committee Chairmen Trey Gowdy, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes for their pursuit of the truth and their determination to protect the American people from lawless actions by federal officials.  They have my full support.”

Conservative lawmakers are charging that the text messages are proof that the FBI has an anti-Trump bias which has fed a rush to judgement against Trump in the Russian collusion investigation and has called into question FBI conduct in the investigations of: then Secretary of State Clinton’s decision to handle top secret emails on her private server, the investigation into the Clinton Foundation and the awarding of American uranium rights to Russian business interests while Clinton was the head of the State Department.

Congressional investigators were told that the texts were lost in a glitch in the system that the FBI uses to store data and blamed Samsung for the failure.

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President Donald Trump responded on Twitter, “In one of the biggest stories in a long time, the FBI now says it is missing five months worth of lovers Strzok-Page texts, perhaps 50,000, and all in prime time. Wow!”

On Thursday, the Department of Justice reported that the months of missing text messages between two FBI officials had indeed been located.

FBI top agent Peter Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page were lovers. The pair were assigned to Robert Mueller’s investigation of allegations that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Stroke was also assigned to the investigation of Hillary’s email server.  Robert Mueller is a former FBI director.

The Hill is reporting that it has obtained a letter from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., that the messages spanning from December 2016 to May 2017, previously thought missing due to a technological glitch affecting FBI phones, have been found.

“The [Office of the Inspector General] has been investigating this matter, and, this week, succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices,” the letter read.

Senate investigators claim that the messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are proof of political bias against Trump in the Russia investigations and in the FBI overall.

Sessions said at least 50,000 messages were exchanged between Strzok and Page.

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Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling after the anti-Trump messages between he and Page were revealed.

Palmer represents Alabama’s 6th Congressional District.

Original reporting by The Hill’s Avery Anapol and Fox News contributed to this report.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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