Remember when we learned Hillary and her aides had erased their hard drives with BleachBit software and literally hit phones with hammers to destroy the information on them? James Comey said on July 5, 2016, that “no reasonable prosecutor” would charge Hillary after the “Mid-Year Exam” investigation because it wasn’t her INTENT to skirt the law.
We all laughed until we cried at that one, but now we’ve learned, thanks to a release of documents from the Department of Justice, that a large number of high-level people who SURELY knew better destroyed their communications, too. Coincidentally, these were all members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team.
What are the odds that the devices of over 20 of Mueller’s team members would have been “wiped” in a variety of creative ways before they were to be handed over to the DOJ for review?
There are numerous methods for achieving this: by just “accidentally" wiping, by inputting an incorrect password too many times, or by leaving a device in “airplane” mode with either incorrect or no passwords provided.
Or, as with Lisa Page’s phone, the device could simply be reset to factory settings (no reason given, as far as we know), in effect wiping the device clean of all Information before it was handed over to the Office of the Inspector General.
Gosh, it happened with lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann’s phone, too, after he entered his password too many times in doing so. You’d think someone smart enough to be the lead prosecutor on a case of this magnitude would know how to open his own phone without wiping off all the data. On the other hand, he surely would be smart enough to know how TO wipe the data, if he so desired.
Some of the phones apparently just “wiped themselves.”
Over a dozen Mueller team members lost their data by putting their phones into “airplane” mode, locking them and then forgetting their passwords or otherwise “accidentally” wiping them.
It is yet to be seen if anyone has been able to recover the data, but at the very least, we learn from this that the people investigating President Trump were not keen on going by the book and didn’t care about the requirements for documenting their activities. Given what we know, it seems much more likely that they were actively hiding those activities.
Sean Davis at THE FEDERALIST posted 87 pages of documents relating to the lost phone content (be glad you don’t have to slog through that), leading to this comment.
Actually, Weissmann had THREE phones that went down. One was wiped “accidentally.” The other two were wiped by entering the wrong password too many times. Maybe someday his phone records will turn up; if so, they’ll probably be in the same place as the rest of Mike Flynn’s exculpatory evidence. (In case leftists are reading this, I’m joking.)
As often as these high-level government officials must have traveled by air, it seems unlikely they’d have been thrown for a loop by the prospect of turning their phones off and on. Hillary could at least try to pass for a ninny when it came to electronic devices (“You mean, like, with a cloth?”), but these people just can’t, not credibly.
But, as Davis tweeted, “The newly released DOJ records from the OIG investigation of corruption during the Mueller probe shows that a key tactic used by the Mueller team was to put the phones in airplane mode, lock them, and then claim they didn’t have the password.”
Lindsay Graham said on Thursday’s HANNITY, “If you can’t manage your own phone, why should we trust you to investigate a crime?...I guess they just ran out of hammers and ‘bleaching’ material. So the question is, did they obstruct justice? Did they INTENTIONALLY [emphasis mine] delete information from their phones because Horowitz was on the case?”
This is a developing story. Graham’s committee is not involved with criminal prosecution, but regarding that, he said, “I would be shocked if the only person prosecuted is [Kevin] Clinesmith.” Clinesmith, you’ll recall, has been indicted for falsifying evidence against Carter Page, changing a document to say he was not an asset for the CIA when he actually had been.
Graham said Thursday that he has “made an invitation” to James Comey, Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions raised by the Horowitz report. “None of them have testified since Horowitz issued his report,” Graham said. “I’m working with their lawyers to try to get them into the committee...They may have good answers, but they need to be asked the questions.” I should add that, unlike Graham, Durham has subpoena power.
So, did the special counsel team deliberately erase their devices before turning them over to the IG? Judging by the circumstantial evidence we know, yes, they did. Can this be proved? That’s up to investigators, and we don’t know everything they know. But we do know this, in Graham’s words: “We cannot live in a country where this is tolerated. ‘Trump/Russia’ –- look how much money they spent, how many agents were involved investigating...how many subpoenas issued, how many lives turned upside down. The question for me –- was there a double standard here? –- it’s pretty obvious to me there was.”
His Cheshire-cat expression also suggested he knows more than he’s telling now. “You think you’re mad about the phones being wiped? Stay tuned. We’ll talk in about ten or twelve days and we’ll see if there’s something else you could get mad about. Just stay tuned.”
Well, Senator, we're not exactly going anywhere. I can’t imagine being much madder, given what we already know. But, sure, we’ll be waiting.
UPDATE late Thursday --- Apparently, the way some of those phones were set up, it took entering an invalid password TEN TIMES before the information would be wiped. But they still managed to do it!