As Justice Department observers have pointed out, the agency has said the 50,000 number represents the total amount of texts between the two employees that the inspector general obtained, not the amount that is missing.
Amid new signs that special counsel Robert Mueller is pursuing an obstruction of justice case against President Donald Trump, Republicans in Congress have intensified their own investigations of the Justice Department's and FBI's handling of inquiries into Trump's ties to Russian Federation. Strzok was a member of the FBI team investigating Hillary Clinton's email server and, later, a member of Bob Mueller's special counsel operation looking into Russia's attempted interference in the 2016 election.
He noted during an appearance on a Milwaukee radio show that Strzok appeared to doubt Mueller's probe would uncover any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released more emails to the Congress and Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told lawmakers a technical software glitch in the Samsung 5 devices used by the agency resulted in a failure to "capture or store text messages". Ms. Page left the investigation sometime last summer, while Mr. Strzok was removed after several texts blasting President Donald Trump became public.
In addition to the missing texts, Republicans are also seizing on the content of the messages that were turned over Friday.
Johnson was speaking with Fox News when he made the bombshell revelation, telling viewers that a group of individuals at the DOJ met "off-site" to derail President Trump's agenda within days of his inauguration. Moreover, they have also included discussions of the Clinton email investigation enacted by the FBI.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday that his department is reviewing why the messages were not saved and whether there is a chance of them being recovered. Those dates span the presidential transition and the day Robert Mueller was appointed. "A secret society? Secret meetings off-site of the Justice Department?"
Johnson asked that FBI Director Chris Wray follow up with more details about the scope of the lost records, whether other bureau phones had "technical problems", and to tell the committee whether it has conducted searches of their non-government issued devices.
Johnson said Strzok's texts suggest a "shocking" bias against Trump.
"We want every tool in our basket that we can to give the American people the assurance that we know exactly what's going on, and that we are at least in agreement that (intelligence operations) proceed forward, not that they have a free rein, Burr said".