It’s hard to believe — but it’s happened.
Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who wrote a stream of negative text messages about President Donald Trump at the very time he was investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged connections to Russia, has filed a lawsuit against the bureau and the Justice Department.
He claims the FBI gave in to the “unrelenting pressure” of the president when it canned him in August 2018.
“While many in law enforcement have faced attacks by this president, Pete Strzok has been a constant target for two years,” Aitan Goelman, a partner with Zuckerman Spaeder LLP and one of Strzok’s lawyers, said in a prepared statement.
“It’s indisputable that his termination was a result of President Trump’s unrelenting retaliatory campaign of false information, attacks and direct appeals to top officials.”
Added Goelman, “The lawsuit shows that, in bowing to the president’s desires, FBI leaders trampled Pete’s free speech and due process rights in ways that should be deeply troubling to all in government, and indeed, to all Americans.”
The complaint names Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray as defendants.
Right. Peter Strzok, the investigator we’ve all seen in writing declaring he would “stop” Trump from becoming President (among other disturbing messages), wants to receive backpay from taxpayers.
Give me a break. https://t.co/uVrznWQ4Is
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) August 7, 2019
As Fox News noted in a piece about the Tuesday development, the suit “revisits a political drama that was seized on by conservative critics of then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as proof that the bureau was biased against Trump. Multiple investigations are under way examining whether the FBI acted properly during the Russia investigation, and Strzok remains a target of Trump’s scornful tweets.”
The suit also provides “new details about the circumstances of Strzok’s firing and amounts to the latest defense of his reputation, coming months after a fiery congressional hearing in which he insisted that his personal views never influenced his work,” noted Fox.
FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered the firing of Strzok last summer — 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.
One of Strzok’s messages referred to an “insurance policy” and a “secret society” in the event Trump did win election to the White House
Trump at the time wasted no time in tweeting his approval of Strzok’s firing from his past.
He wrote, “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 literally 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.
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 election to the White House. 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 of 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz described them as “extremely unprofessional” and discrediting to the FBI.