The Justice Department has turned over more than 50,000 text messages between an anti-Trump FBI agent and FBI lawyer from the team investigating Russia's involvement in the election.
But the department also added in a letter to lawmakers that they failed to "preserve and retrieve" about five months of communications.
Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were removed from Robert Mueller's Russia investigation team following derogatory texts about President Donald Trump.
Strzok was a veteran counterintelligence agent who worked on the Clinton email case and was later reassigned on the team investigating ties between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign. Page was an FBI lawyer also involved in Mueller's investigation.
“We will leave no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available to be produced and will use every technology available to determine whether the missing messages are recoverable from another source,” Sessions said in a statement. “If we are successful, we will update the congressional committees immediately.”
Sessions said the Justice Department informed the congressional committees of the missing text messages on Friday.
“I have spoken to the Inspector General and a review is already underway to ascertain what occurred and to determine if these records can be recovered in any other way,” Sessions said. “If any wrongdoing were to be found to have caused this gap, appropriate legal disciplinary action measures will be taken.”
The new text messages between the pair reveal that they knew charges would not be filed against Hilary Clinton as a result of an investigation into her email server.
The messages were exchanged before Clinton was even interviewed by the FBI, seeming to indicate Comey had made up his mind before finishing the investigation.
The texts reference Attorney General Loretta Lynch's decision to accept the FBI's conclusion in that case and draft a statement that former FBI Director James Comey had prepared in anticipation of closing out the Clinton investigation without criminal charges.
"Timing looks like h***," Strzok texted Page in July 2016.
"Yeah, that is awful timing," Page agreed. In a later message, she added, "It's a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought."
Last month, the Justice Department made public hundreds of text messages that were exchanged between Page and Strzok before they were a part of the Mueller investigation.
Republicans lawmakers believe the communications reveal that the FBI and Mueller's team are politically biased against Trump.
FBI Director Christopher Wray is denying those claims.
The Justice Department has sent Congress 384 pages of additional text messages, but according to a letter sent to Congress, the FBI told the department they were unable to preserve or retrieve text messages sent to Strzok from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 7, 2017.
They explained that the gap was due to "misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI's collection capabilities."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca.) released the following statement concerning the 384 pages of new text messages:
“This weekend we met to discuss the text messages and possible next steps in our oversight of these agencies. The contents of these text messages between top FBI officials are extremely troubling in terms of when certain key decisions were made by the Department of Justice and the FBI, by whom these decisions were made, and the evident bias exhibited by those in charge of the investigation. The omission of text messages between December 2016 and May 2017, a critical gap encompassing the FBI’s Russia investigation, is equally concerning. Rather than clearing up prior FBI and DOJ actions, these recently produced documents cause us to further question the credibility and objectivity of certain officials at the FBI.”