- Peter Strzok told Congress last year that he deleted communications with Lisa Page, but he claimed he did so for “personal” reasons
- An attorney for Strzok says that the former FBI official deleted the records before he was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia team
- Strzok testified that he was asked to review his personal phone and email accounts for any work-related documents. He said he conducted a search of those devices but found no FBI materials on them
Former FBI official Peter Strzok told Congress last year that he deleted “personal” communications he had with his mistress, former FBI attorney Lisa Page.
“As a fact of the matter, following the — at some point, I — you know, it was related to personal reasons — deleted all those,” Strzok told lawmakers on June 27, 2018, according to a transcript of the testimony released on Thursday.
“But they were the personal communications, not the work ones,” added Strzok, who acknowledged having an extramarital affair with Page.
Aitan Goelman, an attorney for Strzok, told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday that Strzok deleted the messages before he was removed from the Mueller team.
“Pete deleted personal communications from his personal iPhone before and unrelated to these investigations,” said Goelman, who added in a follow-up comment that the deletions were made prior to July 27, 2017, when Strzok was kicked off the Mueller probe.
Goelman did not provide a specific date for the deletions.
Strzok, who was fired from the FBI in August 2018, said that he had been contacted by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to provide any work-related communications he had on his personal cell phone and email accounts.
As deputy chief of FBI’s counterintelligence division, Strzok oversaw the Trump-Russia investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane. He also played a leading role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which focused on whether the 2016 presidential candidate mishandled classified information on her private email server.
One issue that arose during that investigation was Clinton’s decision to delete around 30,000 emails that she deemed to be personal in nature. The former secretary of state provided another 30,000 emails to the State Department in December 2014. Republicans have asserted that Clinton may have deleted work-related emails as well from her server, which was housed at her private residence in New York.
In the case of Strzok and Page’s personal communications, the OIG made the request after finding that the pair had exchanged anti-Trump text messages on their FBI-issued cell phones. Strzok was removed from the special counsel’s team after Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, told Robert Mueller about the texts.
Strzok said that he conducted a search of his personal accounts and devices but found no work-related messages.
He made it clear in his testimony that he was allowed the conduct the search on his own, without the involvement of the FBI or OIG.
During Strzok’s congressional hearing, Goelman said that he would not agree to provide his client’s personal communications “to the committee or anybody.”
“Just to clarify, we were asked to provide any work-related communications on Special Agent Strzok’s personal devices. And he reviewed and found that there weren’t any, and we told the IG that. We have not agreed, nor do we agree now, to open up all of Special Agent Strzok’s personal communications on his personal devices to the committee or anybody,” Goelman said.
Strzok also said that he was unaware of any attempts by the OIG or FBI to use subpoenas to obtain his personal communications.
The Strzok-Page texts were discovered during an investigation of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
The messages showed that Strzok and Page exchanged disparaging remarks about Trump. They also discussed aspects of “Crossfire Hurricane,” the FBI counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign.
In one text on Aug. 8, 2016, Strzok told Page that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president. In a text message a week later, he discussed an “insurance policy” that the FBI should take out in the event of a Trump election victory.
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