Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Tuesday that the missing text messages between two FBI officials is just further evidence of “corruption” within the FBI and claimed without evidence that top-level agency officials held “secret society” meetings off-site after the election.
“What this is all about is further evidence of corruption,” he told Fox News Tuesday. “It’s more than bias, but corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and that secret society, we have an informant that is talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off-site. There is so much smoke here, there is so much suspicion.”
Johnson also made similar baseless claims about the Department of Justice: “There are similar individuals highly biased, political operatives burrowed into the Department of Justice as well,” he said.
Johnson is just one of many Republican lawmakers claiming anti-Trump bias within the FBI.
Over the weekend, the FBI was expected to release a new round of text messages between former agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, but announced that due to “misconfiguration issues” the five months worth of texts had been lost, according to Politico and multiple other news outlets. The FBI later said the texts were missing due to a Samsung phone glitch, which the President later referenced in a tweet Tuesday evening.
Where are the 50,000 important text messages between FBI lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok? Blaming Samsung!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2018
Johnson said he was “suspicious” of the missing texts and he wants to “get to the bottom of it.”
“So many experts in IT, they say those messages are somewhere and need to be retrieved,” he said. “The timing is suspicious.”
In a second interview with Fox News Wednesday, Johnson would not confirm how many FBI officials were involved in the supposed “secret society,” but said it was “more than just Strzok and Page” who were involved.
“There were indications there were a number of high level FBI officials holding secret meetings off-site,” he said.
The Justice Department is investigating 50,000 text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page during the 2016 presidential election. There are 50,000 texts messages total, not 50,000 missing, as Trump has said twice.
According to transcripts of the texts released by the Justice Department, the pair referred to Trump as an “idiot” and used language that indicated they supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her presidential bid. The texts also appear to show the two knew Clinton would not be charged before the investigation in her use of private email servers during her time as secretary of state was complete.
Trump and other Republicans are using the texts to hold a candle to their accusations of bias within the FBI, a phenomenon the President has been fueling since he fired former FBI Director James Comey last spring.