Peter Strzok, the agent at the center of the Clinton email and Russia probes, has been fired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The former head of the counterintelligence division was fired as a result of the damning text messages uncovered by the Justice Department (DOJ) Office of Inspector General.
Aitan Goelman, who is serving as Mr. Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the House Judiciary Committee that the text messages from Mr. Strzok “clearly do indicate bias.”
“I certainly agree with the findings of the inspector general report,” Mr. Rosenstein told Congress. “I think those messages clearly do indicate bias.”
Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a highly-anticipated report that uncovered text messages between Mr. Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair. In one of the more damning messages, Mr. Strzok vowed to prevent Mr. Trump from becoming the 45th President of the United States.
Lisa Page: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Peter Strzok: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
These messages were excluded from a disclosure from the same text string, which was previous handed over to members of Congress.
Previously obtained text messages also show the two lovers discussed needing to talk to “Andy” about an “insurance policy” in the event Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, a reference to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Mr. Strzok wrote to Ms. Page.
Mr. Horowitz confirmed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the IG believed “Andy” was a reference to Andrew McCabe, who has since been fired. The inspector general referred Mr. McCabe to the U.S. Attorney for criminal charges after concluding he lacked candor (lied) under oath.
Ms. Page, along with FBI lawyer Jim Baker, both of whom worked closely with fired former FBI director James Comey, resigned from the agency in May.
Mr. Strzok has been relieved of his post as head of the counterintelligence department and reassigned to Human Resources (HR). In June, he was escorted out of the bureau, and is now the third highest ranking FBI official to be fired for misconduct.
Worth noting, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page both worked on the Democrat-dominated team assembled by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III. They were fired last summer before members of Congress conducting oversight and the media learned of the content of the messages.
Further, Mr. Strzok steered the FBI from the Clinton case to the investigation into so-called collusion with Russia. Mr. Horowitz said the inspector general review found the most concerning examples of bias and wrongdoing pertained to this pivot.
Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, confirmed the memo that served as the genesis of the Russia collusion narrative was written by Mr. Strzok.
The DOJ recently released the documents used to justify the FISA warrant application to spy against Carter Page, a former and peripheral campaign adviser to Mr. Trump.
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows intelligence agencies to collect information on foreign targets abroad. However, as PPD also previously reported, it has been “routinely” abused and misused to spy on domestic targets, including President Trump, his associates and other U.S. citizens.
That includes the allegation that FBI and DOJ officials relied upon the unproven and largely discredited dossier put together by former MI6 British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. The dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the campaign for Mrs. Clinton.
The Clinton campaign and DNC hired by the shadowy firm Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research against Mr. Trump. Fusion GPS hired Mr. Steele, who almost exclusively used his Kremlin contacts from his days on the Russian desk at MI6 to source the dossier.
But it’s still clear from the warrant documents that the Obama Administration went out of their way to not fully disclose the political nature of the dossier. Their use of circular reporting to support it and that much of the information in it is materially false.
The DNC and Clinton campaign are identified as Political Party #2 and Candidate #2. Yet, the FBI did not tell the FISC that Political Party #2 and Candidate #2 paid for the dossier as political opposition research against Candidate #1.
With the release of the FISA warrant application, there’s now no doubt that political opposition research was a major component used to justify the initial and subsequent renewals. The non-redacted sections of the released FISA documents do not indicate the dossier was ever verified.
Instead, the FBI claimed Mr. Steele, the former Russian desk head who was reportedly driven out of MI6, was “reliable” based on his previous work.
In January 2018, Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Ia., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sent a a criminal referral for Mr. Steele. It cites potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, or making false statements to investigators particularly regarding the distribution of claims contained in the dossier.
Mr. Steele fed the dossier to former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. The former British spy texted Mr. Ohr that they were “very concerned” and “needed some reassurance” in light of Senator Grassley, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, probing the nature of his relationship with the FBI.
Mr. Ohr, who also served as the director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), was ousted from the fourth floor of “Main Justice” in 2017. He was demoted a second time in January and stripped of his role at the OCDETF for hiding his secret contacts and ties to Fusion GPS.
“Would it be possible to speak later today please?” Mr. Steele asked Mr. Ohr in a text message on March 7, 2017. “We’re very concerned by the Grassley letter and it’s possible implications for us, our operations and our sources. We need some reassurances. Many thanks.”
Lawmakers are now focusing in on Mr. Ohr, as well as former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. The two maintained contact with Fusion GPS before, during and after the election, a relationship that continued three months after the FBI terminated its agreement with Mr. Steele.
The FBI concluded on November 1, 2016, that he broke the agreement by leaking parts of the dossier to the media. They characterized him as “not suitable for use” as a confidential source, internal memos show.
Mr. Steele was also seemingly concerned about not having a contact at the FBI or OJ in the event Mr. Ohr was held accountable.
“Thanks. You have my sympathy and support. If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed,” Mr. Steele texted to Mr. Ohr on January 31, 2017. “We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous all around, though his position right now looks stable.”
His “sympathy and support” is a reference to the firing of Ms. Yates, who was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump’s travel ban. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Trump Administration, calling the order “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority.”.