“An official who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation wrote in a recently released email that he or she was in possession of an iPhone belonging to Lisa Page three days after the former FBI lawyer’s last day on the job and at a time when the device was thought to have been lost.
The special counsel’s office (SCO) and the Justice Department previously claimed to have no documents to show who handled Page’s iPhone after she turned it in on July 14, 2017, or who improperly wiped it two weeks later, before it could be checked for records, in violation of SCO policy.
But documents released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sept. 11 tell a different story, with three officials certifying that Page turned over her phone and one claiming to have been in possession of it.
“I have her phone and laptop,” an administrative officer with the initials LFW wrote in a July 17, 2017, email to Christopher Greer, an assistant director at the DOJ Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).
Beth McGarry, the executive officer at the special counsel’s office, told Greer in an email sent earlier in the day that Page “returned her mobile phone and laptop.”
On the same day, a property custodian officer, whose name is redacted in the documents, signed a form on which Page certified that she turned in her phone and the officer certified that “all government property has been returned or otherwise properly accounted for.”
The July 17 timing of the two statements and the signature is significant. The DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) previously concluded that there were no records of who had the phone after July 14.
(…) On Jan. 26, 2018, Greer reached out to LFW to ask where Page’s SCO iPhone was because the OIG wanted to speak to the official about the device.
“Yes. I know it is missing. We discovered that first,” LFW wrote back.
The DOJ tracked down the phone eight months later, in early September 2018, and handed it over to the OIG. The records officer later contacted the inspector general to find out if the phone was wiped.
“Yes that’s correct, the device had been reset to factory settings,” the OIG official wrote back.
Three months later, in December 2018, the OIG released the report on its hunt to recover additional text messages Page and Strzok sent on six phones they used, four of which were assigned by the FBI. The effort resulted in the discovery of hundreds of text messages, but none came from the special counsel’s office phones, both of which were wiped before investigators recovered them.
The following January, DOJ officials reached out to Verizon with a request for billing statements to check how many messages Page and Strzok sent on their special counsel’s office phones. Verizon responded by saying no text messages were sent, with a caveat that data did leave the device. Verizon’s report didn’t cover the most common way to send a message on an iPhone—the iMessage app—which uses an internet connection rather than the carrier’s text service.
“Both numbers did have data usage so it could mean that if any messages were sent, it could have been through some type of app but we would not know for sure from our end,” a message from Verizon stated.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/15/2020) (Archive)