Tags: mueller | trump | fbi | agent | anti-trump | texts

NYT: Mueller Pulled Top FBI Agent After Anti-Trump Texts Surface

Image: NYT: Mueller Pulled Top FBI Agent After Anti-Trump Texts Surface
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 02 December 2017 01:00 PM

Special counsel Robert Mueller this summer pulled a top FBI counterintelligence investigator from his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election after the Justice Department inspector general began examining whether the agent and a colleague had sent texts expressing political views against President Donald Trump.

Agent Peter Strzok is widely considered one of the agency's most experienced and trusted investigators, reports The New York Times, but he was reassigned during the summer away from Mueller's investigation and back to the FBI's human resources department.

The inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is also conducting an examination of the FBI's handling of the Clinton email matter, reports The Times. This includes former FBI Director James Comey's decision to announce in July that the bureau did not recommend she face charges. He's also investigating Comey's decision to reopen the investigation against Clinton days before the November 2016 presidential election.

On Saturday, the inspector general's office confirmed to BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold that it is reviewing the allegations "between certain individuals," as part of its larger review of the FBI's activities before and after the election.

"The OIG has been reviewing allegations involving communications between certain individuals, and will report its findings regarding those allegations promptly upon completion of the review of them," the OIG said in its statement, which Leopold posted on Twitter:

According to the OIG, the review follows a statement in January 2017 that it would examine the Justice Department and the FBI's handling of the election investigations.

For months, reports The Times, Strzok had played a key role in two of Washington's key cases this summer. He lead the investigation into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information on her private email account and then had been a key player in the Trump-Russia investigation.

Sources briefed on Strzok's case said he was transferred after the text messages were found, with Strzok and a colleague reacting to news items such as the presidential debates.

Strzok's attorney refused comment, and a Justice Department spokeswoman commented that it was aware of the allegations and was "taking any and all appropriate steps." Strzok, meanwhile, remains stationed in the FBI's HR department.

The Times noted that the text messages between Strzok and his colleague could help back Trump's claims that the FBI has been biased against him, even though Mueller moved quickly to pull Strzok from the Russia investigation.

The text messages were discovered when Mueller was building his investigation into Trump's former advisors and while the special counsel, a former FBI director, was being criticized for putting several people who had donated to Democratic candidates on his investigation team.

Trump also has criticized the FBI for its handling of the Clinton email investigation, and fired Comey as FBI chief after complaining that he'd mishandled the probe.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller this summer pulled a top FBI counterintelligence investigator from his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election after the Justice Department inspector general began examining whether the agent and a colleague had sent texts expressing...
mueller, trump, fbi, agent, anti-trump, texts
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2017-00-02
Saturday, 02 December 2017 01:00 PM
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