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04 December 2017, 12:53 | Katrina Lee
Two senior FBI officials on Clinton, Trump probes exchanged politically charged texts disparaging Trump
Special counsel Robert Mueller removed one of the FBI's top Russian counterintelligence investigators from his team after an internal probe found he sent messages that showed possible bias for Hillary Clinton and against President Trump, the special counsel's office said Saturday.
The texts came up during an investigation into how the FBI handled (or mishandled) the Clinton's email inquiry, which is being led by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz. The people briefed on the case said the transfer followed the discovery of text messages in which Mr. Strzok and a colleague reacted to news events, like presidential debates, in ways that could appear critical of Mr. Trump.
A spokesperson for the special counsel's office, Peter Carr, said "Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the special counsel's office removed Strzok from the investigation", reportedNew York Times.
According tothe Post, the politically charged text messages were exchanged between Strzok and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who worked for deputy director Andrew McCabe, in the midst of a extramarital affair during the Clinton investigation and last year's presidential campaign. He sent the text messages to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who also left the Mueller investigation this past summer.
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The Post has repeatedly sought comment from Strzok and Page, but got no response. For months, officials have refused to explain why Strzok was reassigned, but people familiar with the matter said it was ultimately Mueller's decision. When Mr. Trump fired his F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, in May, he initially cited his handling of the Clinton email investigation as the reason for his dismissal.
The agent, Peter Strzok, is considered one of the most experienced and trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators. A spokeswoman at the Justice Department said "we areaware of the allegation and taking any and all appropriate steps". Nunes and other committee Republicans - backed by Speaker Paul Ryan - say they want to investigate whether the Justice Department and FBI may have improperly relied on the dossier to kick-start federal surveillance that caught up Trump associates, without independently confirming the information they used to justify such spying. But the issue was resurrected in late October, when Comey informed congressional leaders that the FBI had discovered new Clinton emails on a laptop belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner, then the subject of a separate FBI investigation.
Strzok was a major player in the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations.
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