Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who has been in the hot seat since the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered his anti-Trump text messages with DOJ lawyer Lisa Page, has been fired from the bureau, his lawyer told multiple news outlets.
Strzok, 48, was one of the main targets of a faction of House Republicans who have sought information on anti-Trump bias in the upper reaches of the DOJ.
Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said in a statement that the office that usually handles disciplinary action within the bureau had recommended a demotion and 60-day suspension, but that FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered Strzok’s firing on Friday.
“The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts Director [Christopher] Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters,” Goelman said.
Those lawmakers, led by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, have grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for dragging his feet over their requests that the DOJ provide documents related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications to monitor certain former members of President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.
At the heart of GOP lawmakers’ complaints about Strzok were a series of texts from Aug. 8, 2016, between Strzok and Page, his alleged mistress, in which Strzok wrote to Page, “We’ll stop” a Trump presidency.
Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page wrote.
“No. No he won’t,” Strzok responded. “We’ll stop it.”
At a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees in June, Strzok vehemently denied that his personal distaste for Trump ever affected his work, which included leading the FBI’s probes into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the Trump campaign’s potential ties with Russia.
“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” Strzok testified.
The DOJ’s inspector general concluded in a report released in May that department officials committed numerous indiscretions over the course of the Trump campaign investigation in 2016.
But IG Michael Horowitz “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected those specific investigative decisions,” he told the House Judiciary Committee on June 19.
Trump reacted to the news by suggesting on Twitter that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation be dropped, calling it a “total hoax.” He also called the FBI’s Clinton email server probe “a total fraud on the American public” and said it “should be properly redone.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018
Jordan praised Strzok’s firing in a statement Monday.
“It’s about time that Peter Strzok was fired,” the Freedom Caucus founding member said. “There are lots of fair and impartial employees at the FBI. Strzok clearly was not one of them.”
Meadows said in a statement that Strzok had “tarnished” the reputation of the FBI.
“Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI because of what his own written words plainly showed: he was willing to use his official FBI position to try and stop President Trump from getting elected,” he said.
Watch: Issa Asks Strzok to Read Anti-Trump Texts