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Top FBI Agent Removed From Russia Probe Over Anti-Trump Text Messages
03 December 2017, 01:23 | Austin Hogan
Mueller Removed Top FBI Agent Over Possible Anti-Trump Texts
An FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election was removed this summer after his bosses discovered texts shared with another official attacking President Donald Trump.
The agent has been identified as Peter Strzok, one of the agency's most experienced and trusted counterintelligence investigators, said the New York Times, which first reported the dismissal.
"Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel's Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation", Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement Saturday.
During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Strzok was reportedly reassigned to a job in the FBI's human resources department following the discovery of the alleged texts.
Reports suggest that Mueller, who ran the FBI from 2001 until 2013, knows any illusion that his team holds unfair political biases could sever the public's trust in the investigation.
The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General is already conducting a review of actions of the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation during last year's election and it said Saturday that the revelations about Strzok and Page would be included in that review.
The president has also continued his longstanding criticism of the FBI's Clinton email server investigation which Trump initially cited as his reason for firing FBI Director James Comey in May of this year.
The Times reported "Strzok and a colleague reacted to news events, like presidential debates, in ways that could appear critical of Mr. Trump".
The DOJ is investigating the Strzok-led FBI investigation of the Clinton email scandal.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Saturday that department officials are "aware of the allegations" related to Strzok "and are taking any and all appropriate steps".
The inquiry into Mr. Strzok is being conducted by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, who is leading a broad examination of how the F.B.I. handled the Clinton email investigation. The New York Times said that a lawyer for Strzok declined to comment, while the Washington Post said it repeatedly sought comment from Strzok, but received no response.
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