President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani said in an interview published Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller should be investigated over the disappearance of text messages sent by Peter Strzok, a former FBI official removed from Mr. Mueller’s probe into the 2016 presidential election over remarks he made during the race disparaging of Mr. Trump.
“Mueller should be investigated for destruction of evidence for allowing those text messages from Strzok to be erased, messages that would show the state of mind and tactics of his lead anti-Trump FBI agent at the start of his probe,” Mr. Giuliani told The Hill.
“That should be investigated, damn it, that should be investigated fully. You want a special counsel, get one for that,” Mr. Giuliani said, The Hill reported.
Mr. Strzok, 48, a former counterintelligence official, participated in the special counsel’s investigation into the 2016 election prior to being removed in July 2017 over the discovery of text messages he sent during the race to another FBI employee, lawyer Lisa Page, in which they ranted against Mr. Trump. He was subsequently fired from the bureau on Aug. 10, 2018.
A report published this month by the Department of Justice’s internal watchdog revealed that “technical problems” prevented the FBI from recovering thousands of text messages sent and received by Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page on their government-issued cellphones.
“The FBI’s collection tool was not only failing to collect any data on certain phones during particular periods of time, it also does not appear that it was collecting all text messages even when it was generally functioning to collect text messages,” the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General concluded in the report.
A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.
Mr. Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate the 2016 presidential race after the U.S. intelligence community concluded that the Russian government interfered in the election to hurt the campaign of Mr. Trump’s opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. More than 30 individuals have been criminally charged as a result of the special counsel’s probe, including Russian nationals and members of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, among others.