Politics

Peter Strzok Finally Fired — and the Reason Will Have Trump Supporters Cheering

Former counterintelligence agent's lawyer, Aitan Goelman (shown above left), confirmed the decision in a statement Monday

Image Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok (pictured above right) was fired by the bureau Friday for sending thousands of biased texts against President Donald Trump, his lawyer said in a statement on Monday.

“This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,” Strzok lawyer Aitan Goelman (pictured above left) said in a statement, which The Washington Post first obtained.

“A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work.”

FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered the firing — and in the process overruled the recommendation of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility that Strzok be given only a 60-day suspension and a demotion.

President Trump wasted no time in tweeting his approval of Strzok’s removal, saying, “Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI — finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction — I just fight back!”

Strzok exchanged thousands of text messages with ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page in 2016 while he was investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to conduct official business as secretary of state.

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The messages also covered the period in 2017 when he was briefly a member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of allegations that Trump campaign aides had colluded with Russian interests.

Mueller fired Strzok when the messages to and from Page became public.

One of Strzok’s messages referred to an “insurance policy” and a “secret society” in the event Trump did win. In another message responding to Page’s plaintive plea for assurance that Trump would not be elected, Strzok responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

In many of the messages, Strzok and Page described Trump in such unflattering terms that in a report released in June, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz described them as “extremely unprofessional” and discrediting to the FBI.

Related: Strzok Hides Behind National Security Cover, Mum to Most Key Questions

“In his decades of service, Special Agent Strzok has proved himself to be one of the country’s top counterintelligence officers, leading to only one conclusion,” Goelman said. “The decision to terminate was taken in response to political pressure, and to punish Special Agent Strzok for political speech protected by the First Amendment, not on a fair and independent examination of the facts.”

But Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement on Monday that Strzok’s firing “is another body blow to the credibility of the Mueller special counsel operation. Strzok, who hated President Trump, compromised both the Clinton and Trump investigations that saw Hillary Clinton protected and Donald Trump illicitly targeted. Strzok’s anti-Trump texts show the Russia investigation he helped invent with Clinton campaign operatives is irredeemably compromised. As Mueller’s operation is founded on Strzok’s corrupt activities, it must be shut down.”

Strzok and Page drew the attention of the congressional investigation when their texts were revealed publicly in December 2017. The House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have been investigating decisions DOJ and FBI made during two major investigations tied to the presidential election of 2016.

Strzok testified during two closed-door hearings that went late into the night of June 27. He returned to face questions during his first public hearing on July 12. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) threatened him with contempt proceedings during his public hearing after he refused to answer numerous questions.

Page later appeared before the same congressional panels and was described as being much more cooperative.

The last text message exchange made between Strzok and Page concluded with her telling him to “never text me again.”

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