Americans need to know how the FBI lost five months' worth of text messages between one of its agents and an agency attorney, but even what was left behind shows a troubling "level of bias" against President Donald Trump, his family, and his business interests, Rep. Trey Gowdy said Tuesday.
"Number one, we need to know how the world's premier law enforcement agency managed to lose five months' worth of texts," the Tennessee Republican, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program.
"In the texts we do have, they're discussing how to avoid texts being captured and secured. So what's missing is important."
But what's left is also troubling, said Gowdy, including one text that referred to a "secret society" within the FBI.
"It is manifest bias not just against Trump, but against his kids, against his business interests," said Gowdy. "There is a text where they hope the Trump Hotel fails. That is a level of bias that you rarely see, and you never see from law enforcement offices."
On Monday, Gowdy and Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe told Fox News that the "secret society" memo, one of tens of thousands exchanged between former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page during the 2016 presidential campaign, was sent the day after Trump won the election, The Daily Caller reported.
"We learned today about information that after — in the immediate aftermath of [Trump's] election that there may have been a secret society of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI to include Page and Strzok that would be working against him," Ratcliffe told Fox's Martha MacCallum Monday.
"Now, I have no clue what that means because it was not the phraseology I used," Gowdy said Tuesday. "But it's the day after the election. It's the same two people that were discussing a little bit later in the text the damage they had done with the Clinton investigation and how they could, quote, 'fix it and make it right.' That is a level of bias that is stunning among law enforcement officers."
In another text, reported by Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, Strzok, the lead investigator on the Hillary Clinton email server probe, typed that his "gut concern was that there was no big there there" with the probe.
"It tells me that one of the lead counter intelligence agents in the country doesn't think there is anything there, there," said Gowdy.
"What disappoints me the most he has no interest in participating in an investigation that might clear Donald Trump. His only interest is if there is quote something there, so he can then fix what he did with the Hillary Clinton email investigation."
Gowdy added that he does not know of any law enforcement officials who are not equally interested in clearing innocent people as they are in catching criminals.
"So, for him to only be interested, if there is quote 'something there where he can get the president,' is stunning for an FBI agent to admit," said Gowdy.
The message Johnson read was sent just two days after Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel in the Russia probe, and Gowdy said the timing was "not good."
"It is also in that same time period where we're missing five months' worth of texts," said Gowdy. "God only knows what else was said. That's a really important time period. [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions has recused himself, Bob Mueller is coming on board. I happen to like him. I respect him. I think he is going to do a good job."
However, if Mueller is picking people like Strzok and Page to be on his team, and they are only interested in being on the team if they could get Trump in trouble, "then he had some hiring failures of epic proportion."
Gowdy said he wants to bring former FBI Director James Comey back to the stand to ask him questions, especially since some of the text messages show the agents knew Clinton would be exonerated.
"We have to talk to him," said Gowdy. "He is the central figure in the decision number one not to charge Secretary Clinton. I've already litigated that issue with him and had three conversations with him about that. But it is really important to understand when that decision was made."
The news, said Gowdy, breaks his heart, because he's learned that a law enforcement agencies that he has had "tremendous respect for and worked with for 16 years had some bad apples in important positions of trust and responsibility and their bias overcame their objectivity."
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