Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who was removed from the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling because of his anti-Trump text messages,Tuesday, his lawyer tells CBS News.
Strzok oversaw the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and was a senior member of the team investigating potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, first under the FBI's counterintelligence division and later as a member of Robert Mueller's team of investigators. He was removed from Mueller's team in July 2017 after the discovery of text messages disparaging President Trump that he exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI attorney. The two were having an extramarital affair.
Strzok's conduct was criticized by the Justice Department's inspector general in a long-awaited report released last week. In one exchange just weeks before the 2016 election, Strzok told Page that "we'll stop" Mr. Trump from becoming president. In testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Michael Horowitz, the DOJ inspector general, said Strzok's conduct was extremely serious, completely antithetical to the core values of the department," but said he found no evidence that Strzok's actions had influenced any major investigative decisions or the outcome of the case.
Strzok is still technically employed by the FBI.
"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," Strzok's lawyer, Aitan Goelman, said in a statement. "All of this seriously calls into question the impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence."
Strzok's actions have drawn particular criticism from conservatives and Mr. Trump himself, who has criticized Strzok over the "we'll stop" Mr. Trump text and more. The president has linked the OIG report's findings to Mueller's investigation,.
"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!" Mr. Trump tweeted earlier this week.
A spokesperson for Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, the law firm representing Strzok, confirmed to CBS News that he would be willing to testify without immunity before any congressional committee and would not plead the Fifth Amendment in response to any questions. The Washington Post first reported his willingness to testify.
CBS News's Paula Reid and Andres Triay contributed to this report.
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