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Peter Strzok fired from FBI after anti-Trump texts, lawyer says

Last Updated Aug 13, 2018 1:37 PM EDT

Peter Strzok has officially been fired from the FBI, according to his lawyer. The FBI special agent who criticized President Trump via text messages was likewise heavily criticized by the president, his allies and a blistering Justice Department Inspector General report.

Strzok became the face of everything Mr. Trump and his allies viewed as problematic with the FBI, after the revelation that he and then-fellow FBI official Lisa Page exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Strzok worked on the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and then special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling and any ties to Trump associates. 

He was removed from the Mueller probe after the messages were discovered, and moved to a different office still within the FBI. Strzok was escorted from FBI headquarters in June, after the DOJ watchdog report was released. 

"Late Friday afternoon, the Deputy Director of the FBI overruled the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and departed from established precedent by firing 21-year FBI veteran Peter Strzok," Aitan Goelman, attorney for Strzok, said. "In doing so he reversed the decision of the career FBI official responsible for employee discipline who concluded, through an independent review process, that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was the appropriate punishment."

"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 continued. 

The FBI is not commenting at this time. 

Mr. Trump has repeatedly blasted Strzok in tweets, pointing to Strzok as a reason to mistrust Mueller's "rigged witch hunt" investigation. The president responded to Strzok's firing Monday by questioning the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation, although Strzok was never in charge of the Mueller investigation, contrary to the president's claim.

"Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI - finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction - I just fight back!"

The president also suggested the Clinton email investigation should be redone. 

Allies of the president, like House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, said Strzok's firing was clearly justified.

"Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI because of what his own written words plainly showed: he was willing to use his official FBI position to try and stop President Trump from getting elected," Meadows said in a statement. "He tarnished the FBI's sterling reputation and severely damaged public trust in an institution where trust is paramount. His conduct should deeply concern every American. I hope this development will allow us move to forward in restoring the character of an agency where so many brave men and women work tirelessly to keep America safe."

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.