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Top Senate Republicans pressing for investigation on Mueller team phones being 'wiped'

September 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Rayburn House Office Building July 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mueller testified earlier in the day before the House Judiciary Committee in back-to-back hearings on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Two top Senate Republicans are pressing Justice Department officials to investigate whether special counsel Robert Mueller's team violated federal record keeping laws during a probe by the Justice Department's watchdog into the FBI's Russia investigation.

(CNN)Two top Senate Republicans are pressing Justice Department officials to investigate whether special counsel Robert Mueller's team violated federal record keeping laws during a probe by the Justice Department's watchdog into the FBI's Russia investigation.

Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday pointed to a recent Freedom of Information Act release from the Justice Department that shows at least 27 instances of phones assigned to Mueller's team being "wiped" or reset for various reasons, including 15 due to passcodes forgotten or being entered too many times.

In a letter to the Justice Department and FBI, Grassley questioned whether it was a "widespread intentional effort" given the "number of times and the stated reasons for the deletions. " He demanded that DOJ turn over all phone records from the Mueller team and any recovered records to the committee.

President Donald Trump and his supporters have long sought to discredit the FBI's Russia probe and Mueller's findings, questioning whether the FBI even had reason to open an investigation into his presidential campaign.

At Barr's direction, the Justice Department launched an investigation last year into the origins of the FBI Russia probe.

In a report released in December, Horowitz found that the FBI properly opened its investigation into Russian election interference, but that there were major errors in how the agency conducted the probe.

Barr disputed Horowitz's finding that the FBI properly opened a full investigation, called Crossfire Hurricane, based on the evidence it had.

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