Over the weekend, we learned that the FBI had “failed to preserve” five months’ worth of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Considering that the texts they did retain included highly politicized commentary about Donald Trump, including speculation that Strzok use his office to “protect the country” from Trump, one can’t help but wonder how much more explosive the missing stuff was.
Even so, it turns out that the act of “losing” the texts could wind up being even more damning to the Left than discovering them would have been. Rachel Stockman and Ronn Blitzer at the Law & Crime blog write that this far-too-convenient disappearance of highly relevant government records just might provide a legal basis for a motion to dismiss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe entirely.
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First, the authors state the obvious that “Months of text messages don’t just accidentally disappear,” noting that it can’t help but at least look like a deliberate coverup in light of damning nuggets from Strzok and Page’s known conversations, such as the suggestion that Barack Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch already knew the FBI wouldn’t be charging Hillary Clinton in Emailgate when she was publicly promising to act on whatever the FBI’s final determination turned out to be.
Look for Paul Manafort to jump all over this. He’s already fighting his indictment, claiming that Mueller is overstepping his authority and shouldn’t be running the investigation. Throw in this evidence that the investigation may have been tainted before Mueller even took over, and that the DOJ could be covering up damaging information, and a motion to dismiss alleging prosecutorial misconduct is a near certainty. FBI Agent Strzok was reportedly heading up the Manafort investigation before he was taken off the Mueller probe. Manafort’s attorney might try to say that the missing text messages could contain exculpatory evidence (or evidence favorable to the defendant) and therefore the court should get to the bottom of what the two said. However, two former federal prosecutors who spoke to Law&Crime both contend it would be difficult to get the entire indictment dismissed based on the text messages alone.
“It depends on what FBI’s retention policy is for text messages. It does certainly raise questions as to how these five months came up missing,” explained Bill Thomas, a former federal prosecutor. “However, the court is not going to just dismiss the case. If it comes to it, the judge may hold a hearing to get to that information through calling witnesses. Dismissal is the nuclear option, it would have to be something very very egregious for a court to dismiss the case.”
Of course, as TFPP has previously covered, many would argue that the Mueller team’s credibility is already compromised enough to shut the whole thing down. Among them the fact that his probe is being assisted by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a longtime foe of Trump’s who has filed over a hundred legal challenges to his administration during the first year; that one witness at Mueller’s grand jury described it as so full of open partisans that it “looks like a Bernie Sanders rally”; and numerous red flags in Mueller’s handling of Manafort.
What do you think? Is the end of this circus finally in sight, or are we destined to endure this for another year or more? Sound off in the comments below.
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