Criminal Justice

FBI agent Peter Strzok is fired after sparring with lawmakers over anti-Trump messages

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Peter Strzok via Wikimedia Commons.

FBI agent Peter Strzok has been fired for violating agency policies after President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers decried anti-Trump text messages Strzok had exchanged with an FBI lawyer.

FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered Strzok’s dismissal on Friday, according to Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman. The Washington Post, Politico and the New York Times are among the publications with stories.

Strzok had denied in a congressional hearing last month that his private views influenced his work in probes of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for email while secretary of state. “I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart,” Strzok had said.

Most controversial was this email exchange between Strzok and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page:

Page: Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

A report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz had revealed the exchange. The report said Strzok had prioritized the Russia investigation over the investigation of newly discovered Hillary Clinton emails, and the decision may not have been free from bias.

Strzok had also sent a draft search warrant and affidavit to his personal email account, the report said.

Strzok was previously removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and reassigned to the FBI’s human resources division.

Goelman said the FBI had promised that the normal disciplinary process would be used to handle Strzok’s case, but his firing by Bowdich contravenes an internal recommendation by the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The office had recommended that Strzok receive a demotion and 60-day suspension.

Strozk’s firing follows the those of FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was accused of lacking candor when speaking to investigators about a media leak.

Trump criticized the group in a tweet on Saturday. “So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!” he wrote.

Trump reacted to news of the firing in tweets on Monday. “Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped?” he asked.

Trump also noted by tweet Strzok’s involvement in the investigation of Clinton’s emails. “It was a total fraud on the American public and should be properly redone!” he wrote.

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