FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok was escorted from the building amid an internal review of his conduct, his lawyer confirmed Tuesday.
Strzok, who had a central role in the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State, was reportedly escorted from the FBI building on Friday amid an internal review of his conduct.
“Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks,” his attorney Aitan Goelman said in a statement Tuesday.
“Despite being put through a highly questionable process, Pete has complied with every FBI procedure, including being escorted from the building as part of the ongoing internal proceedings.”
Strzok became a target of President Trump and conservatives after it was discovered that he had exchanged private text messages with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page that disparaged Trump and other political figures.
Goelman on Tuesday said partisan politics called into question the “impartiality” of the investigation into Strzok’s conduct.
“All of this seriously calls into question the impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence. Instead of publicly calling for a long-serving FBI agent to be summarily fired, politicians should allow the disciplinary process to play out free from political pressure,” he added.
Last week a report from the Justice Department’s inspector general into the handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server also made public previously undisclosed texts where Strzok told Page they would have to “stop” Trump from becoming president.
The report found that political bias did not influence the Clinton investigation and also that Strzok did not actually use his office to work against Trump. But the report found that those actions cast a cloud over the department and was deeply critical of FBI and DOJ leadership.
The statement from Strzok’s lawyer came as Horowitz spent roughly seven hours testifying before the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees about his findings and defending his judgment.
Republicans pressed the inspector general on FBI director James Comey‘s decision to exonerate Clinton for her handling of classified materials.
The joint hearing was Horowitz’s second straight day of testimony. Senators grilled him on Monday over the report’s findings.
Strzok has also come under fire for his early involvement on special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigative team, which is examining ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mueller promptly removed him from his team after Horowitz’s internal review uncovered the critical text messages that disparaged Trump and his supporters.
Trump has repeatedly bashed Strzok on social media, calling him a “sick loser” on Twitter over the weekend.
“Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted Sunday.
Strzok has said he is willing to testify before the House in light of the report, although the timing of such a hearing is not yet known.
BY OLIVIA BEAVERS – 06/19/18