(CNSNews.com) -- While commenting on the 348 pages of phone texts exchanged between anti-Trump FBI agents Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) said the texts reveal that immediately after Donald Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, "there may have been a 'secret society' of folks" in the FBI, including Page and Strzok, who were "working against him."
The texts between Page and Strzok -- Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team last July after the anti-Trump texts were uncovered -- specifically reference a "secret society of folks." In addition, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the House Oversight Committee chairman, disclosed that there are texts on the subject of how to erase or delete text messages from a mobile phone.
During a Jan. 22 interview on Fox's The Story With Martha MacCallum, Rep. Ratcliffe and Chairman Gowdy discussed the texts they had reviewed over the weekend and the fact that the FBI claims that about five months of messages were somehow lost or not retrieved. The missing texts cover the period from Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, the time of the presidential transition, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the establishment of a special counsel to investigate Trump for alleged "collusion" with Russia.
In the interview, Rep. Ratcliffe said, "It does make you wonder. It's a strange coincidence. It's possible that these text messages that are missing, perhaps they really were lost, perhaps it is another strange coincidence.... It makes it harder and harder for us to explain one really strange coincidence after another."
"We knew that Strzok and Page had an intense anti-Trump bias, and that's okay so long as they check it at the door and do their job," said Ratcliffe. "But we learned today, in the htousands of text messages we've reviewed, that perhaps they may not have done that. There's certainly a factual basis to question whether or not they acted on that bias."
He continued, "We know about this insurance policy that was referenced [in the texts] in trying to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president, we learned today about information in the immediate aftermath of his election that there may have been a secret society of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI to include Page and Strzok to be working against him."
"When folks speak in those terms," said Ratcliffe, "they need to come forward to explain the context with which they use those terms."
Both Strzok and Page worked at the FBI under FBI Director James Comey, who exonerated Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her illicit use of a private email server and mishandling of classified government documents. Comey was fired by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017.
At the FBI, Lisa Page -- who started an affair with Strzok as early as 2015 -- worked in the office of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who worked under Comey.
The Mueller special counsel investigation was launched on May 17, eight days after Comey was fired. McCabe helped oversee the FBI's investigation (2015-16) into Clinton's illicit use of a personal email server.
Lisa Page also worked, briefly, for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. FBI agent Strzok worked for Mueller as a lead investigator until his anti-Trump texts were discovered. Subsequently, he was reassigned to the Bureau's Human Resources office.
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