DOJ Launches Review of ‘Anti-Trump’ FBI Official’s Role in Clinton Email Investigation
In yet another blow to Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the special counsel was forced to fire a top FBI agent after possible anti-Trump text messages were discovered.
New York Times reports:
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, removed a top F.B.I. agent from his investigation into Russian election meddling after the Justice Department’s inspector general began examining whether the agent had sent text messages that expressed anti-Trump political views, according to three people briefed on the matter. The agent, Peter Strzok, is considered one of the most experienced and trusted F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators. He helped lead the investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information on her private email account, and then played a major role in the investigation into links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. But Mr. Strzok was reassigned this summer from Mr. Mueller’s investigation to the F.B.I.’s human resources department, where he has been stationed since. The people briefed on the case said the transfer followed the discovery of text messages in which Mr. Strzok and a colleague reacted to news events, like presidential debates, in ways that could appear critical of Mr. Trump.
In a statement to the New York Times, Strzok lawyer said”we are aware of the allegation and are taking any and all appropriate steps.”
In August, ABC News reported that Strzok quit Team Mueller for unknown reasons. “It’s unclear why Strzok stepped away from Mueller’s team of nearly two dozen lawyers, investigators and administrative staff. Strzok, who has spent much of his law enforcement career working counterintelligence cases and has been unanimously praised by government officials who spoke with ABC News, is now working for the FBI’s human resources division,” reported Mike Levine.
After new details emerged about Strzok’s firing, the Washington Post revealed the Justice Department launched an investigation into “communications between certain individuals.” Details of the mystery probe will be revealed “promptly upon completion of the review of them,’ said the Justice Department. Late Saturday night, we learn the Department of Justice has launched a review of Peter Stzrok’s role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Fox News reports:
Two senior Justice Department officials have confirmed to Fox News that the department’s Office of Inspector General is reviewing the role played in the Hillary Clinton email investigation by Peter Stzrok, a former deputy director for counterintelligence at the FBI who was removed from the staff of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III earlier this year, after Mueller learned that Strzok had exchanged anti-Trump texts with a colleague.
A source close to the matter said the OIG probe, which will examine Strzok’s roles in a number of other politically sensitive cases, should be completed by “very early next year.” […] He participated in the FBI’s fateful interview with Hillary Clinton on July 2, 2016 – just days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was declining to recommend prosecution of Mrs. Clinton in connection with her use, as secretary of state, of a private email server.
Reacting to Strzok’s ‘anti-Trump,’ texts, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said, “We now know why Strzok was dismissed, why the FBI and DOJ refused to provide us this explanation, and at least one reason why they previously refused to make [FBI] Deputy Director [Andrew] McCabe available to the Committee for an interview.”