by WorldTribune Staff, September 11, 2020
Several dozen cell phones belonging to multiple people on then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team were “wiped” of data, newly released documents from the Department of Justice show.
The phones were wiped of information because of “forgotten passcodes, irreparable screen damage, loss of the device, intentional deletion or other reasons,” according to the documents, which were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch.
The phones were wiped before the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General could review the devices.
The documents show that Mueller top deputy Andrew Weissmann “accidentally wiped” his phone twice after entering the wrong passcode too many times in March 2018.
“The pandemic of ‘wiped’ phones among the Mueller team requires a criminal investigation of this destruction of evidence and potential obstruction of justice and other crimes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The DOJ and FBI hid these records for nearly two years – which only adds to the appearance of a cover-up.”
“Judicial Watch first asked for this info nearly two years ago and sued a year ago,” Fitton added.
The documents also show:
• Lawyer James Quarles’ phone “wiped itself” without his intervention.
• The phone of attorney Greg Andres was also wiped due to a forgotten passcode.
• The phones of both Mueller deputy Kyle Freeny and Rush Atkinson were wiped accidentally after they entered the wrong passcode too many times.
• The phone belonging to FBI lawyer Lisa Page was restored to factory settings when the inspector general’s office received it.
Other officials, whose names are redacted in the released documents, claim to have “unintentionally restored” their phone to its factory settings, deleting all records of communication.
Next to the name of one redacted person, the record says: “Phone was in airplane mode, no passcode provided, data unable to be recovered so had to be wiped.”
Attorney General William Barr said this week there “could be” more charges stemming from the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax by U.S. Attorney John Durham probe. Durham filed his first criminal charge in the probe against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith last month.
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.