‘Smells like quite the cover up’: Findings from new OIJ report raise red flags

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A startling report released Wednesday by the Office of the Inspector General left many wondering if perhaps it’s time to investigate special counsel Robert Mueller.

According to the report, someone within Mueller’s office reset the government-issued phones of disgraced former FBI special agent Peter Strzok and disgraced former FBI attorney Lisa Page after they were booted from his investigation into Russian collusion last year.

This matters because both prior to them joining the special counsel’s team and during their time handling the investigation into then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, the duo exchanged text messages that referenced an “insurance policy” against Trump’s election.

The exact meaning of this “insurance policy” remains unclear because thousands of the romantically involved duo’s text messages disappeared once word of their anti-Trump animus went public.

Mueller reportedly booted the duo after learning of their text messages.

The report notes that following Strzok and Page’s departure from the Special Counsel’s Office, Mueller’s staff reset their phones and then issued them to new owners.

Regarding Strzok’s phone in particular, the report reads, “[T]his iPhone had been reset to factory settings and was reconfigured for the new user to whom the device was issued. It did not contain data related to Strzok’s use of the device.”

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More notable is the discovery that a member of Mueller’s team reset the disgraced former agent’s phone after reviewing it and reportedly “determin[ing] it contained no substantive text messages.”

This may explain why the OIG has been unable to locate any text messages from Dec. 13, 2016, to May 17, 2017,  the day that Mueller was appointed special counsel.

This discovery contradicts the FBI’s original claim. When the OIG first realized that five months of messages were missing, the bureau reportedly blamed the discrepancy on an alleged technical glitch that affected the phones’ message retention system.

The OIG’s report seemingly disproves this claim, though it stops short of explicitly noting so. What remains unclear is whether the FBI had merely been mistaken or had purposefully lied.

Even more troubling to many — particularly on social media — is the timing aspect. Because the messages reappeared the day Mueller was assigned, some wonder if his very assignment had been part of Strzok and Page’s “insurance policy” against the president.

Trump’s agenda has been stymied in part because of the special counsel’s relentless attacks on him, his family and his current and former associates.

Look at social media’s reaction below:

Regarding Page’s phone, the OIG only just obtained it three months ago. Prior to September the SCO claimed it was unable to find it. When the office finally located the phone, it discovered that it too had been reset, though it claimed to not know by whom.

To many on social media, this too seems awfully suspicious and even suggestive of something sinister.

Look:

It remains unclear whether Mueller himself played any role in the phones being reset.

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