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Justice Department veterans know darn well that destroying potential evidence is a huge breach of ethics. Yet many of the top members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team did just that when the Inspector General’s Office came calling.

They have all manner of (ridiculous) excuses for wiping more than two dozen government-issued iPhones used in the Russiagate investigation.

OK, maybe one or two screens really did get smashed so badly that a wipe was needed; perhaps another phone really was wiped by accident. But not dozens of them: Apple’s phones are far better designed than that.

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Members of Mueller’s team ‘wiped’ phones during Trump probe: DOJ More than two dozen cell phones belonging to members of...

One phone “wiped itself,” according to records that Judicial Watch obtained thanks to the Freedom of Information Act: Then-FBI attorney Lisa Page’s phone had been restored to factory settings when the IG’s office received it.

And Mueller’s top deputy, Andrew Weissmann, claims he “accidentally wiped” his phone after entering the wrong passcode too many times — twice in one month, March 2018. Funny: More than a dozen of the phones suffered the exact same “accident.”

Republican Rep. Doug Collins wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook, sarcastically asking for details on how such wiping works: “It would be truly shocking if the attorneys chosen to investigate the President of United States — arguably the Democrats’ ‘best and brightest’ lawyers — could manage to inadvertently wipe their government-issued iPhones because they spent hours entering an incorrect passcode to a phone they had used for over a year.”

As Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley notes, “Many officials apparently deleted the records after the DOJ Inspector General began his inquiry into how the Justice Department mishandled Crossfire Hurricane” — the Comey-era FBI’s investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Weissmann (who, it’s increasingly clear, really ran the “Mueller” probe) and his cronies may think they’ve been pretty clever. But this coverup is a damning sign that their “investigation” involved a lot of “work” they don’t want the public to hear about.

Filed under editorial ,  investigations ,  justice department ,  robert mueller ,  russia ,  9/16/20

News Source: New York Post

Tags: editorial editorial investigations justice department robert mueller russia

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Alexei Navalny demands Russia returns his clothes for probe

Russian dissident Alexei Navalny on Monday accused Moscow of withholding a key piece of evidence in his poisoning and demanded the return of the clothes he was wearing when he fell deathly ill during a flight, according to reports.

The Kremlin critic said his garments were taken from him before he was flown to Germany for treatment from Siberia after he became ill on the domestic flight to Moscow on Aug. 20, according to Reuters.

“Before they allowed for me to be taken to Germany, they took off all my clothes and sent me completely naked,” Navalny wrote on his website as he recovers at Berlin’s Charite hospital.

“Considering Novichok was found on my body, and that infection through contact is very likely, my clothes are a very important piece of evidence,” he said. “I demand that my clothes be carefully packed in a plastic bag and returned to me.”

“Two independent laboratories in France and Sweden and the Bundeswehr specialized laboratory confirmed the presence of Novichok in and on my body,” he said in a blog post after emerging from a coma, referring to a German military lab.

Tests in Germany, France and Sweden have determined that Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-style nerve agent Novichok.

Alexei NavalnyEPA

The West has demanded an explanation from Moscow, which has insisted it has yet to see evidence of a crime.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the case but has launched a pre-investigation inquiry, Reuters reported. Russia has asked Germany to hand over Navalny’s medical data so it can be reviewed.

“The 30 days of ‘pre-investigation probe’ were used to hide this important evidence,” Navalny said.

Navalny’s clothes were taken by investigators and are no longer at a hospital in Siberia’s Omsk, where he was initially treated, according to the RIA news agency, which cited the local health ministry.

Ivan Zhdanov, a member of Navalny’s team, said Russian authorities have called the dissident’s spokeswoman and other team members for questioning as part of the pre-investigation probe.

But Zhdanov said they would not attend because a 30-day deadline for police to decide whether to open a criminal case had passed.

The transport police said the investigation was still ongoing and that they had questioned 200 people and planned to carry out further checks.

Navalny also posted a poignant image on Instagram of himself sitting on a balcony along with his wife of 20 years, Yulia, saying he remembered little of his illness but that she had helped his recovery, according to Agene France-Presse.

“Now I definitely know from experience: love heals and brings you back to life,” he said. “Yulia, you have saved me, and let it go down in neurobiology textbooks.”

Alexei Navalny (center) and Kira Yarmysh (left)AP

He said she had played him music and sang him songs to raise his spirits.

This weekend he said he could walk with a “tremble” and that in his first days he had needed therapy to help him recover his speech.

Navalny’s team has claimed that he became sick after drinking from a poisoned bottle of water in his hotel room in Siberia.

His aides had previously said they suspected he had been poisoned with a cup of tea he drank at Tomsk airport, where he boarded a flight to Moscow.

Meanwhile, a chemist involved in the secret Soviet program to create Novichok has apologized to Navalny, according to The Moscow Times.

Vil Mirzayanov, who was the first to reveal Novichok’s development, told Russia’s TV Rain that he was apologizing after Germany said it found “unequivocal evidence” he was poisoned with the nerve agent.

Bottles of Holy Spring mineral water in Alexei Navalny’s hotel room in Tomsk, Siberian.Instagram account @navalny/AFP via Getty Images

“I offer my profound apologies to Navalny for the fact that I took part in this criminal business, developing this substance that he was poisoned with,” said Mirzayanov, who now lives in the US, The Moscow Times reported.

“Navalny will just have to be patient but in the end, he should be healthy,” added Mirzayanov, who predicted that the recovery would take “almost a year.”

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