rence. The termination was ordered on Friday, according to the Washington Post, despite a decision that he only face a demotion and suspension.
Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, complained about the decision, saying that the FBI official who normally handles such matters decided on a 60-day suspension for Strzok and a lower position. Nevertheless, Deputy Director David L. Bowdich decided to fire Strzok anyway.
“The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts Director Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters,” Goelman told MSNBC. He claimed, “the decision to terminate was taken in response to political pressure.”
BREAKING: FBI has fired veteran agent Peter Strzok, Strzok’s lawyer says in a statement to @CNBC, and alleges that "the decision to terminate was taken in response to political pressure."
Strzok’s lawyer: "The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts Director Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters."
11:17 AM - Aug 13, 2018
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Law&Crime reached out to Goelman for additional comment.
Strzok’s firing came after a Justice Department Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of matters surrounding the 2016 election, particularly the Hillary Clinton email investigation, that Strzok worked on. Text messages between him and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom Strzok had an affair, showed that the pair expressed anti-Trump sentiment and a favorable position towards Clinton. Strzok also worked on the investigation of the Trump campaign, but when Special Counsel Robert Mueller learned of the texts, he dismissed Strzok from the probe.…
judge, Rudolph Contreras, who as we reported last December, "mysteriously recused" himself from handling the case against Michael Flynn, reports The Federalist, which has seen the text messages.
The text messages about Contreras between controversial Department of Justice lawyer Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the top Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence official who was kicked off Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, were deliberately hidden from Congress, multiple congressional investigators told The Federalist. In the messages, Page and Strzok, who are rumored to have been engaged in an illicit romantic affair, discussed Strzok’s personal friendship with Contreras and how to leverage that relationship in ongoing counterintelligence matters. -The Federalist
“Rudy is on the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]!” Page excitedly texted Strzok on July 25, 2016. “Did you know that? Just appointed two months ago.”
“I did,” Strzok responded. “I need to get together with him.”
“[He] said he’d gotten on a month or two ago at a graduation party we were both at.”
Contreras, appointed by President Obama on May 19, 2016, notably sat on the FISA court while the Trump team was under surveillance by the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, Strzok was one of two FBI investigators who took part in a January 24 interview of Michael Flynn - Trump's brand new National Security Director. Flynn later pleaded guilty to a charge of providing false information to the FBI - which was supposed to be heard by judge Contreras on December 1, 2017.
Strzok, who went to work for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, was subsequently removed from the probe by Mueller after the DOJ's internal watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, discovered over 50,000 text messages between Strzok and Page which revealed anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias, as well as an illicit affair the two were having. Of note, the pair worked at the highest levels on both the Clinton email investigation and the early Trump-Russia investigation until their removal from the Mueller probe.
On December 5, 2017, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray demanding the delivery of text messages from Strzok, along with notes from the Flynn interview.
Two days later, Judge Contreras was recused from the Flynn case with no explanation - and it was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
According to the newly seen text messages, Strzok and Page discussed setting up a cocktail or dinner party with Contreras so they could speak without arousing suspicion of collusion. "Strzok expressed concern that a one-on-one meeting between the two men might require Contreras’ recusal from matters in which Strzok was involved," writes The Federalist.
“[REDACTED] suggested a social setting with others would probably be better than a one on one meeting,” Strzok told Page. “I’m sorry, I’m just going to have to invite you to that cocktail party.”
“Have to come up with some other work people cover for action,” Strzok added.
“Why more?” Page responded. “Six is a perfectly fine dinner party.”