Mueller removed Federal Bureau of Investigation agent from Russian Federation probe for anti-Trump texts


The New York Times reports that special counsel Robert Mueller removed a top FBI agent from the on-going Russian election-interference investigation after it was discovered the agent sent text messages displaying political animosity towards President Trump.

The president has been continuously critical of the FBI, and back in May, he fired the agency's director, James Comey, citing concerns over the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

Mr. Strzok was reassigned this summer from Mr. Mueller's investigation to the F.B.I.'s human resources department, where he has been stationed since.

The text messages showed Strzok reacting with anti-Trump sentiments to certain news events, including the presidential debates.

ABC News reported back in August that Strzok had left the investigation, but said at the time "it's unclear why Strzok stepped away from Mueller's team of almost two dozen lawyers, investigators and administrative staffers".

Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and shared info with her where they they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and made comments favoring Clinton.

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Page and Strzok reportedly continued exchanging politically charged texts throughout the 2016 campaign season.

Separately, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, "we are aware of the allegations and are taking any and all appropriate steps".

A spokesperson for Mueller's team confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Strzok was no longer assigned part of the investigation.

The New York Times identified Strzok earlier this year as the agent tapped by FBI brass to supervise the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. But, given Strzok's role in this investigation as well as others, it more likely will only increase speculation that the FBI is not acting honestly. The Post reported it "has repeatedly sought comment from Strzok and Page, but got no response".

Given Flynn's proximity to Trump during last year's presidential race and to Trump's inner circle until his ouster in February of this year, the agreement with Flynn and his cooperation in the Mueller probe signaled to many observers that the Justice Department's investigation has entered a new phase - with a possible focus on those closest to the president or perhaps even Donald Trump himself.

Strzok's and Page's communications are now being examined for any evidence of bias in their handling of the Clinton and Trump investigations, according to The Post.