Mueller Removed FBI Agent From Russia Probe Over Anti-Trump Messages

03 December, 2017, 01:26 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Mueller Removed FBI Agent From Russia Probe Over Anti-Trump Messages

Special counsel Robert Mueller removed one of the FBI's top Russian counterintelligence experts from his team of investigators after an internal investigation found messages he sent that could be interpreted as showing political bias for Hillary Clinton and against President Donald Trump, according to U.S. officials briefed on the matter.

One of the most trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators, Strzok helped in leading the investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information on her private email account, and then played a major role in the investigation into links between President Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, reported New York Times. He sent the text messages to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who also left the Mueller investigation this past summer.

"Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel's Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation", Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, confirmed to Fox News.

ABC News reported back in August that Strzok had left the investigation, but said at the time "it's unclear why Strzok stepped away from Mueller's team of almost two dozen lawyers, investigators and administrative staffers".

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.

"Lisa Page completed her brief detail and had returned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation weeks before our office was aware of the allegations", Carr also said in his statement, though it was not immediately clear to which allegations he was referring.

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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 FBI declined to comment.

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.

Strzok was a major player in the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations. In apparent reference to the case, the Justice Department inspector general's office said in a statement on Saturday that it was "reviewing allegations involving communications between certain individuals".

"It took weeks for this information to land with Mr. Strzok and his team", The Times reported in April. The Post reported it "has repeatedly sought comment from Strzok and Page, but got no response".

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