Mueller Reassigned Top FBI Agent in Russia Probe over anti-Trump Texts

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
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04 December, 2017

Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and other committee Republicans, after considering such action for several weeks, chose to move after media including the New York Times reported Saturday on why a top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russia-Trump election collusion had been removed from the investigation.

The agent, Peter Strzok, a counterintelligence veteran, was reassigned when the Justice Department inspector general's office found potentially disparaging texts he sent to a colleague, The Washington Post and The New York Times first reported.

Meanwhile, the inspector general's office at the Justice Department said the incident is part of a wider probe into how the FBI has handled investigations relating to the election.

"Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel's Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation", said Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office.

According to the Post, the politically charged text messages were exchanged between Strzok and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who worked for deputy director Andrew McCabe, in the midst of a extramarital affair during the Clinton investigation and last year's presidential campaign.

The Post reported that Strzok and Page exchanged texts that were anti-Trump and pro-Clinton. It quoted people familiar with the issue.

A lawyer for Mr. Strzok declined to comment.

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Days later, then-FBI Director James Comey announced that he would not be recommending charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information on her private email server.

Agent Peter Strzok is considered one of the most experienced investigators in the FBI and previously assisted with the Hillary Clinton email investigation, before moving on to investigate Russia's interference in the election.

The Justice Department 's Office of the Inspector General said in a statement Saturday that it 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".

Mr Trump fired Mr Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director in May.

The DOJ is investigating the Strzok-led FBI investigation of the Clinton email scandal.

The president said earlier on Sunday that he had never asked Mr Comey to stop investigating ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn.


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