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The president of a leading government watchdog organization is calling for a federal investigation into actions reportedly taken by members of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ investigative team to wipe dozens of cellphones.
Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton says that the real question is whether any laws were broken by the acts — specifically, whether there was an attempt to destroy government records.
“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 told investigative reporter John Solomon on his podcast this week.
Fitton also discussed Mueller’s claim that he did not apply for the position of FBI director just a day before he was appointed as special counsel, though an email uncovered by Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act request suggests otherwise.
And President Donald Trump has also said that Mueller did indeed apply.
“And now we have confirmation that the president was right and that Mueller was potentially lying to Congress about whether or not he was up for the job and whether he wanted to be considered for it,” Fitton said.
Justice Department documents released last week showed that in excess of 25 cell phones utilized by members of Mueller’s investigative and legal team were all wiped free of data and text messages.
A spreadsheet tracking all of the phones shows that several uses claimed that they wiped their devices by accident, most often because they would enter the wrong password too many times in a row.
Weissman, a top prosecutor in the probe who has a controversial legal past with the Justice Department, said that he removed data from his phone at least twice in 2018 — one time because he input the wrong password too many times. He also said he “accidentally wiped his cell phone” again in September of that year.
The Judicial Watch chief is not the only one to question whether or not the wiping of the phones was done to intentionally over up improper or even illegal activity. In a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked if either the FBI of DoJ has begun an investigation to see if any laws or agency procedures were violated.
“It appears that Special Counsel Mueller’s team may have deleted federal records that could be key to better understanding their decision-making process as they pursued their probe and wrote their report,” Grassley wrote, noting that several of the incidents occurred after the DoJ inspector general launched a probe into the FBI’s mishandling of the Trump-Russia investigation.
“Moreover, based on this new information, the number of times and the stated reasons for the deletions calls into question whether or not it was a widespread intentional effort,” Grassley wrote.
Another former federal prosecutor, Sidney Powell, who is representing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, said following the revelations that the actions amounted to “obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence of the worst sort.”
For his part, Fitton advised the president to conduct a “transparency revolution” by ordering various government agencies to divulge information.
“Get it all out. Stop with the fake redactions. Stop with the abusive exemptions that black out information. We want the world to know about what happened here on this terrible corruption,” he told Solomon.
“If it’s the worst corruption scandal in American history then it should be all hands on deck in terms of transparency. And enough with the abuse of FOIA that’s been allowed to fester for years here.”