Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who helped lead the probe into Russian election interference until a maelstrom developed around his anti-Trump text messages, has been fired, his attorney confirmed Monday. President Trump, who viewed Strzok's animosity toward him as typical of the DC establishment behind what he calls the Robert Mueller "witch hunt," was among those celebrating the news. Coverage:
- Overruled: Strzok's attorney, Aitan Goelman, thinks his 48-year-old client was unfairly punished given that the FBI's own Office of Professional Responsibility recommended only a 60-day suspension and a demotion. However, the FBI's No. 2, David Bowdich, overruled that recommendation, reports the New York Times. Strzok spent more than 20 years at the FBI and had become a top counterintelligence agent.
- Trump: “Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI - finally," the president wrote. "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!”
- 2 huge investigations: Strzok played a big role in two major investigations by the FBI in 2016, one on Russian interference and the other into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. Then his emails with Lisa Page, now a former FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair, came to light, showing that both were personally opposed to Trump becoming president. "We'll stop it," Strzok once famously texted her. (Vox has more background on the scandal and on Strzok himself.) Trump emphasized the Clinton angle: Strzok "was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation," he wrote Tuesday. "It was a total fraud on the American public and should be properly redone!"
- Legal bills: Strzok supporters have launched a GoFundMe page to help with his mounting legal bills. The goal is $150,000. It wasn't clear if Strzok would sue the agency, reports the Washington Post, though his attorney's comments—"This isn't the normal process in any way more than name," he said of the firing—suggested it's a possibility. The Post notes that Strzok is the third top FBI official involved in the Clinton and Russia inquiries to be fired. The others were former FBI chief James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe.
- From the right: Some say it's unfair to fire Strzok for his personal opinions, "but Strzok wasn’t a random agent," writes Allahpundit at Hot Air. "He was in a lead role on not one but two investigations that bore directly on Trump’s presidential chances." Strzok also severely damaged the agency's credibility, asserts the post.
- From the left: Strzok’s anti-Trump texts "have become the stuff of conspiratorial Republican hysteria, but there has been no evidence presented that the messages, nor any anti-Trump sentiment Strzok held personally, ever affected his work at the bureau," writes Matt Shuham at Talking Points Memo.
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