Anti-Trump texts between Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who worked on both the Russian interference and Hillary Clinton email probes, and his colleague and paramour Lisa Page have gotten the career agent fired.
While the FBI's disciplinary office had recommended Strzok be demoted and suspended for 90 days, his lawyer said, FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich booted him from the bureau.
“The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts” testimony to Congress by FBI Director Christopher Wray “and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters,” attorney Aitan Goelman said in a statement.
Strzok and Page's actions clouded the public's perception of the FBI as an impartial steward of the law as did former FBI Director James Comey's decision to deviate from established Justice Department and FBI protocol when he announced just a few days before the 2016 election that the bureau had reopened the Hillary Clinton email probe, according to a long-awaited report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released in June.
The conduct of Strzok, briefly a part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, and Page, - whose texts whipped up allegations of impropriety and the suggestion that a “secret society” at the FBI was intent on derailing the Trump presidency – “cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation,” the IG concluded.
But the report noted, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed.”
Mueller pulled Stzrok, who had also worked on the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, from the Russia probe after an investigation by the IG revealed texts between the two that criticized and ridiculed Donald Trump.
Stzrok defended his actions in July during a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, denying that his personal opinions of the president had influenced the probes he participated in. "Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took," Strzok said in an opening statement at a public hearing in Congress.