The FBI has fired embattled agent Peter Strzok over a series of anti-Trump texts sent in the midst of his work on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to sway the 2016 presidential election.
The Washington Post was the first to report that FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered Strzok fired on Friday, overruling a more junior FBI deputy director who recommended Strzok be demoted and suspended for 60 days for his anti-Trump texts.
Strzok, of course, was a 22-year veteran of the FBI and a lead investigator on two crucial cases: an FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server and a private email address during her time as Secretary of State and the all-important Mueller investigation.
But last summer, an internal investigation by the FBI’s inspector general revealed that Strzok had been exchanging “politically charged” text messages with his lover, an FBI attorney. Those messages revealed that Strzok and his girlfriend were virulently opposed to the candidacy of now-President Donald Trump, and, according to the IG, were willing to take aggressive action to “hurt Trump’s electoral prospects.”
When he found out, Mueller booted Strzok from his team, but the Russia investigation was already tarnished. Conservatives, concerned that Mueller’s probe was dragging on with no end in sight — and, after a year, no evidence the Trump team colluded at all with Russian nationals in the course of the 2016 election cycle — felt Strzok’s presence on the team belied the probe’s true purpose: to de-legitimize Trump’s victory and mar his first term as president.
Strzok was technically dismissed back in June, pending an investigation by the FBI’s internal disciplinary arm, but Friday’s decision is permanent.