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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government took a public beating this week as some Republicans, both in Congress and the White House, accused Mueller’s team of being infected with political bias against the president.

Those Republicans seized upon approximately 375 text messages, provided to Congress by the Department of Justice this week, exchanged by two FBI employees between August 2015 and December 2016. One of those employees, Peter Strzok, served as a top investigator both on Mueller’s team and on the Hillary Clinton email probe, but was removed by Mueller from the Russia investigation when he learned about the texts. The Department of Justice inspector general discovered the text messages on the employees’ work phones while looking into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton case.

“According to the documents produced last night to this committee, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page referred to the President as ‘an utter idiot,’ ‘a loathsome human,’ and ‘awful,’ while continually praising Hillary Clinton and the Obamas,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte said Wednesday at a hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “These text messages prove what we all suspected: High-ranking FBI officials involved in the Clinton investigation were personally invested in the outcome of the election, and clearly let their strong political opinions cloud their professional judgment.”

But the texts, which were reviewed by BuzzFeed News after the Justice Department made them public, paint a larger — albeit incomplete — picture of two employees frustrated by more than just Trump. Their targets also included Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Hillary Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, as well as the country’s general state of affairs.

How they came to be released also remains a subject of controversy. The Justice Department said they were made public after consultation with the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General, which had uncovered the texts during its investigation of the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.

But in a letter Friday to Rep. Jarrold Nadler of New York, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, the inspector general's office said no consultations took place "to determine whether releasing the text messages met applicable ethics and legal standards before providing them to Congress."

The letter also said "The Department did not consult with the OIG before sharing the text messages with the press." The letter was signed by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

In a statement issued late Friday, the OIG said that it had told the Department of Justice it could go ahead and release the text messages to Congress, but "at no time prior to the release of the text messages did the Department consult with the OIG about providing records to the media."

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Source : https://www.buzzfeed.com/emmaloop/what-you-need-to-know-about-those-anti-trump-texts-from-an

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