Democrat to FBI: Did White House, Jeff Sessions get involved in Peter Strzok firing?
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., wrote a letter Monday to FBI Director Christopher Wray pressing for details on whether the White House or Attorney General Jeff Sessions got involved in the firing of Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who had come under fire for sending anti-Trump text messages to another FBI agent with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
Strzok’s lawyer Aitan Goelman revealed earlier in the day that Strzok had been fired by FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich, complaining that it “reversed” a prior FBI personnel decision to have Strzok demoted and suspended for 60 days amid misconduct allegations.
Krishnamoorthi requested that Wray “assure” Congress and the public that Strzok was not fired for political reasons. The Democrat also wants to know if the White House or Sessions may have played a role in the FBI’s handling of Strzok and whether there was a “departure from normal FBI procedure.”
“It is of the utmost importance that the FBI make personnel decisions based on the integrity of the organization and the safety and security needs of the American people,” Krishnamoorhi, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in the letter. “Federal law enforcement must remain insulated from political pressures, including the political efforts to undermine the FBI’s investigation into Russian attacks on our democracy and entanglements with President Trump and his campaign.”
Goelman said the FBI’s decision should be “deeply troubling” and that there was not a “shred of evidence” that Strzok’s personal opinions impacted his work.
“This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans. A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of Congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work,” Goelman wrote in a statement.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) August 13, 2018
It was revealed last year that Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who both worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, had an affair and exchanged text messages critical of Trump. Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation last year and Page resigned from her post in 2018.
Strzok was also a leading official in the FBI’s investigation on Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a letter to Congress — prior to the release of his June report that detailed misconduct of how the FBI managed its Clinton probe — that the texts between Strzok and Page negatively impacted the FBI’s standing by signaling there was bias within the agency, but Horowitz ultimately determined that the scandal didn’t impact Mueller’s inquiry.
Author: Diana Stancy Correll