US Attorney General Jeff Sessions acknowledged Monday in a statement provided to Fox News that the FBI's information system failed to preserve five months of text messages between two bureau officials who had disparaged then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election, USA TODAY reports.
The discovery of the communications earlier this year prompted the removal of Peter Strzok, a senior counter-intelligence agent, from the staff of Russia special counsel Robert Mueller.
Strzok had been communicating by text message for months with colleague Lisa Page, who also had been assigned to Mueller's team, but had returned her duties at the FBI before the text messages were found.
The Justice Department turned over a tranche of communications between the two officials to Congress last month covering a period between August 2015 to December 2016. In those contacts, Strzok, who also helped run the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, referred to Trump as an "idiot" and the two expressed a clear preference for the Democratic candidate.