Grassley to DOJ: Why Is There a Redaction on a Strzok Text Message Referring to the Obama White House 'Running an Investigation'

Posted: May 23, 2018 2:45 PM

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday asking for the remaining redactions of text messages between FBI Agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page to be removed. Strzok and Page are the agents who were busted earlier this year for anti-Trump, pro-Clinton bias during the 2016 presidential election.

According to the letter, the redactions appear to be improper and cover information, including lavish spending and FBI investigations, the American people deserve to see. There's also a redacted reference to an investigation being led by the Obama White House.

"On May 1, 2018, and May 18, 2018, Committee staff reviewed in camera less redacted versions of the Strzok and Page text message productions provided to the Committee.  On several occasions, my staff have requested that the Department of Justice provide the Committee with a redaction key, to no avail.  Thus, the Committee is still in the dark about the justification the Department is relying upon to withhold that information from Congress," the letter states. "As one example of redacted material, in a text message produced to the Committee, the price of Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table was redacted. In another, an official’s name was redacted in reference to a text about the Obama White House 'running' an investigation, although it is unclear to which investigation they were referring."

"In order to see under the redactions, Committee staff had to travel to main Justice to review a lesser redacted version.  When viewing the still redacted portions in context with the unredacted material, it appeared that the redacted portions may contain relevant information relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the manner in which the Department of Justice and FBI handled the Clinton and Russia investigations," the letter continues (bolding is mine). "Congress, and the public, have a right to know how the Department spends taxpayer money.  I am unaware of any legitimate basis on which the cost of a conference table should be redacted.  Embarrassment is not a good enough reason.  The manner in which some redactions have been used casts doubt on whether the remaining redactions are necessary and defensible."

Grassley has asked for the message to be turned over in unredacted form by June 6.