FBI Fires Agent Whose Trump Criticism Stoked Congress

WASHINGTON (CN) – The FBI has fired the special agent whose pre-election text messages about Donald Trump inspired a congressional inquiry.

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok prepares to testify before the the House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform during a hearing in Washington on July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Peter Strzok’s attorney Aitan Goelman confirmed the termination of the 22-year-veteran on Monday to the Washington Post.

In a statement, the FBI said a standard review and disciplinary process occurred after concerns about Strzok’s conduct went to the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The bureau also gave Strzok and his attorneys the chance to respond before a decision was made.

“The deputy director, as the senior career FBI official, has the delegated authority to review and modify any disciplinary findings and/or penalty as deemed necessary in the best interest of the FBI,” the bureau’s statement said.

Strzok’s sacking comes after the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended that a demotion and 60-day suspension would serve as a sufficient reprimand.

Trump celebrated the news Monday on Twitter.

“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!”

Over the weekend, Strzok had been the focus of a Twitter barrage that Trump sent from his New Jersey golf course. Since his inauguration, the president has spent over 150 days at his golf properties.

Ahead of Trump’s 2016 election upset, text messages between Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page showed the two expressing contempt for Trump and a promise to “stop him.”

The texts lead to a congressional hearing held last month pitting Republican officials against Democrats in a public tit-for-tat with Strzok in the middle.

When asked about the content of the controversial texts, Strzok said it was a “response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero.”

“It was my presumption, based on that horrible, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States,” he said.

Strzok’s attorney Goelman has not returned a request for comment.

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