Trump’s lawyer says Mueller should be investigated for destroying evidence
Rudy Giuliani claimed in an interview with Hill.TV that the office of Mueller, which oversees an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 federal election, destroyed evidence related to the probe.
Giuliani said Mueller let text messages from former FBI agent Peter Strzok be erased. Strzok was removed from the Russia probe and later fired from the FBI, after it was revealed that he criticized Trump in an exchange with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
In one such 2016 exchange, Page asked Strzok: “[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strozok replied: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
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A report put forward by the Justice Department earlier this month explained that not all the text messages exchanged between the two had been recovered. It said that by the time investigators asked for the text messages, the phones had already been reset so other FBI employees could use them.
In this week’s interview, Giuliani told Hill.TV: “Mueller should be investigated for destruction of evidence for allowing those text messages from Strzok to be erased, messages that would show the state of mind and tactics of his lead anti-Trump FBI agent at the start of his probe.”
However, the Justice Department report explained investigators tried several ways of accessing the text messages — including consultations with defence officials and forensic tools.
The report highlighted that the FBI does need to look into better ways of storing and saving communications that happen on their cellphones.
The Hill.TV asked Giuliani whether he thought the erased messages were a mistake or intentional, which led him to compare the situation to the Watergate scandal.
“It’s actually worse than Rose Mary Woods. She erased less than 19 minutes of conversation, but the FBI got rid of more than 19,000 messages,” he said.
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Woods was former U.S. president Richard Nixon’s secretary, and claimed she mistakenly deleted a segment of White House tapes which was recorded three days after a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
Giuliani also said during the interview that his team is preparing to offer rebuttals on Mueller’s final report into election interference, which has yet to be released.
He added that Trump will not provide any more answers to the probe, in addition to the written ones he has already submitted.
“They have everything they need, unless they just want to set a perjury trap,” he said.
The lawyer said he hopes the investigation wraps up soon, and that he’s confident there will be no evidence that implicates Trump in Russian collusion.
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