Peter Strzok, who spearheaded the FBI’s investigations into both the Clinton email “matter” and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, has been fired from the agency over anti-Trump texts, according to The Washington Post.
Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process. –Washington Post
“This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Goelman said.
Strzok’s termination follows a June report that he was physically escorted out of an FBI building despite still being employed by the agency.
News – FBI special agent Peter Strzok was escorted out of the FBI building on Friday, source familiar tells me; as of today, he is still employed; he’s been stationed in Human Resources since dismissal from Mueller team.
— Laura Jarrett (@LauraAJarrett) June 19, 2018
In response Goelman said in a statement: “Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks.”
In the same June letter, Goelman complained about the “impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence.”
In other words, Peter Strzok – who vowed in a text message to his FBI mistress to “stop” Trump, was the victim of political bias – according to his attorney.
Goelman also wrote that “instead of publicly calling for a long-serving FBI agent to be summarily fired, politicians should allow the disciplinary process to play out free from political pressure.” We are confident that everyone will be very interested in watching the “impartial” disciplinary process play out fully in the coming months.
Goelman’s conclusion: “Despite being put through a highly questionable process, Pete has complied with every FBI procedure, including being escorted from the building as part of the ongoing internal proceedings.”
Strzok’s anti-Trump sentiment came to light after an internal investigation revealed he and his FBI mistress Lisa Page had exchanged 50,000 text messages, many of which contained clear animus towards then-candidate Donald Trump.
Strzok’s position in the bureau had been precarious since last summer, when Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz told Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III that the lead agent on his team had been exchanging anti-Trump messages with an FBI lawyer. The next day, Mueller expelled Strzok from the group.
The lawyer, Lisa Page, had also been a part of Mueller’s team, though she left a few weeks earlier and no longer works for the FBI. She and Strzok were having an affair. –Washington Post
Perhaps the most alarming of the exchanges mentions an “insurance policy” in the event Trump is elected.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.” Strzok wrote to Page, adding “It’s like a life insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
In another text exchange, Strzok tells Page: “I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherrent answer,” and “I CAN’T PULL AWAY, WHAY THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!“
Page then messages Strzok, saying “And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace. (links to NYT article), to which Strzok replied “I can protect our country at many levels.”
LP – And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace. (links to NYT article)
PS – … I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) December 13, 2017
The text messages made abundantly clear that Strzok – the man who downgraded the FBI’s assessment of Hillary’s email mishandling from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” and used a largely unfounded Trump-Russia dossier to launch a counterintelligence operation – holds a deep disdain for Donald Trump.
In response to the discovery of Strzok and Page’s texts, President Trump derided the pair as “FBI lovers.” On Sunday, Trump tweeted “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired? So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”
…..Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired? So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2018
Strzok testified at a Congressional earing last month, asserting that there was “no evidence of bias in my professional actions,” and that his testimony was “just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
The now-former FBI agent also creeped people out with a weird smirk during the session, as well as the generally creepy faces he made:
Completely real. I personally recorded it from my tv. I was so shocked when I saw it and played it back. I only cut the first part of the arguing. This is the full recording I captured. I couldn’t believe it. pic.twitter.com/fL3Ji16qP1
— Holly Bowie (@Hollybowie) July 13, 2018
We’re looking forward to hearing Strzok’s side of the story wherever he lands next – which we assume will either be CNN or MSNBC.