The Department of Justice released a new report on Thursday afternoon that shows some of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators destroyed or otherwise deleted the contents of more than 25 government-issued cell phones.
As the Daily Caller reports the erasures were the result of an accident or gross negligence on by the senior team members.
The prosecutors—who were tasked with investigating President Trump, his campaign members, and alleged collusion with Russian entities—admitted to deleting the information because they entered the login password incorrectly too many times and had the phone wiped.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 11, 2020
From the report:
Andrew Weissmann, a top deputy on the special counsel’s team, “wiped” his phone twice, according to the documents, which were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.
Weissmann “entered password too many times and wiped his phone” on March 8, 2018, the Justice Department spreadsheet says. He claimed to have “accidentally wiped” his phone on Sept. 27, 2018.
“Data lost,” the spreadsheet reads.
A phone used by James Quarles, one of special counsel Robert Mueller’s closest aides, “wiped itself without intervention from him,” the Justice Department document says.
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A phone used by prosecutor Greg Andres was wiped due to a forgotten password on May 30, 2018.
This is criminal.
But in Washington, DC it’s Thursday. https://t.co/HWy1P6wtbI
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 10, 2020
Kyle Freeney’s phone “was accidentally wiped prior to records review” on Nov. 27, 2018, according to the spreadsheet. Another unidentified special counsel team member also claimed to have accidentally wiped their data prior to the records review.
L. Rush Atkinson claimed to have accidentally wiped data from his phone two days later, on Nov. 29, 2018.
Two other users claimed their phones were accidentally scrubbed on Dec. 12, 2018 and Jan. 2, 2019.
The records cite numerous other incidents in which data from unidentified special counsel team members’ phones was erased because of errant password entries.
The report notes that the Justice Department findings do not indicate any of the information being deleted intentionally as to withhold or eliminate evidence.
It should be noted at least three members of Mueller’s investigative team were fired during their investigative efforts due to anti-Trump bias expressed in personal notes or text messages.