Mueller removed Federal Bureau of Investigation agent from Russian Federation probe for anti-Trump texts

Dec 04, 2017, 00:53
Mueller removed Federal Bureau of Investigation agent from Russian Federation probe for anti-Trump texts

A top FBI agent at the center of both the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team for exchanging derogatory text messages about the president with a colleague.

One of the most trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators, Strzok helped in leading 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 Russian Federation, reported New York Times.

Peter Strzok, a veteran FBI investigator, was shuffled off to the FBI's human resources department by Mueller after the Justice Department's inspector general opened an investigation into the texts, The New York Times reported on Saturday. In a busy morning of notes to his 44 million followers, Mr. Trump earlier said that "I never asked" former FBI Director James Comey "to stop investigating Flynn".

Clinton and her supporters say Comey's moves in October cost her the 2016 election, and Trump and his Republican allies have used it to justify Comey's firing - the event that ultimately led to Mueller being appointed as special counsel.

The president's most vociferous defenders in Congress have called for a special counsel to investigate how the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the Clinton probe, and other Clinton-connected matters.

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Strzok's attorney refused to comment on the publication.

The exact nature of the text messages has not been made public, but defenders of Strzok and Page have reportedly called the allegations "overblown" and said there wasn't any misconduct. "Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!"

Justice Department spokeswoman Sara Isgur Flores said in an email that "we disagree with the chairman's characterization and will continue to work with congressional committees to provide the information they request consistent with our national security responsibilities". Mueller has been looking into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election since May. Some conservatives encouraged Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Mueller, saying the investigation was tainted.

The House committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, responded in a statement that the Department of Justice inspector general is "properly investigating the handling of the investigation, including the current allegation of bias" by Strzok.