Two senior FBI officials in Clinton, Trump probes exchanged politically charged texts that disparaged Trump –

Two senior FBI officials in Clinton, Trump probes exchanged politically charged texts that disparaged Trump


The former top FBI official badigned to the investigation of special adviser Robert S. Mueller III on Russian interference in the 2016 election was pulled from his job this summer after his bosses discovered that he and another team member Mueller had exchanged politically charged texts that disparaged President Trump and the support of Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Peter Strzok, as deputy director of counterintelligence at the FBI, was a key player in the investigation into Clinton's use of a private e-mail server to do government work as Secretary of State, as well as research into the possible coordination between the campaign of Trump and Russia in the 2016 elections.

During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI attorney Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of

The extramarital affair was problematic, these people said, but law enforcement officers became more concerned about the text messages exchanged during Clinton's campaign and campaign campaign, in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments What seemed to favor Clinton.

[Mueller’s moves signal growing peril for White House]

President Trump was criticized for his apparent acceptance of Russian president Vladimir Putin's denials of electoral interference. (Patrick Martin / The Washington post)

The people who discussed the issue did not describe the political messages between Strzok and Page, except to say that the two would react to the news of the current campaign.

Officials are now reviewing communications to see if they show evidence of political bias in their work on the cases, a review that could result in a public report, according to people familiar with the matter.

The defenders of Page and Strzok insisted that the problem is "exaggerated" and that there was no misconduct between the two.

The Post has repeatedly searched for comments from Strzok and Page, but got no response. The FBI and the Office of the Special Adviser declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said: "We are aware of the allegations and are taking all appropriate steps."

A friend of Page said there was no professional fault in the matter, and said Page left the Mueller team. in July, before any of the problems appeared.

When the problem arose, Strzok was removed from Mueller's team in August and badigned a position in the FBI's human resources division, which is considered internally degraded. according to people familiar with the matter. The page does not work much with McCabe, these people said.

By the time they left Mueller's group, nobody publicly related the two exits. For months, officials have refused to explain why Strzok was rebadigned, but people familiar with the matter said it was ultimately Mueller's decision.

Among federal law enforcement officials, there is great concern that the texts exchanged may be used by the president and his advocates to attack the credibility of the Mueller and FBI investigation more broadly, in accordance with the people familiar with the matter.

Defenders of Strzok and Page within the FBI said that because there was no direct supervisory role between Page and Strzok in the workplace, there was nothing professionally wrong about having an affair, but they added that they understood why Mueller would not want anyone. involved in such behavior on his team. On the one hand, if a foreign intelligence agency knew of an issue like this, they might try to use it as a means of blackmail, although there is no evidence that someone outside the FBI was aware of the relationship.

President's Most Vociferous Advocates Congress has called for a special attorney to investigate how the FBI handled Clinton's investigation and other matters related to Clinton. The news of the texts could give new impetus to these demands.

Clinton's investigation formally ended in July 2016, when former FBI Director James B. Comey announced that he would recommend that Clinton not face charges for the use of a private email server as a secretary. of State. But the problem resurfaced at the end of October, when Comey informed Congress leaders that the FBI had discovered new emails from Clinton on a laptop belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner, who at the time was the subject of a separate FBI investigation. . Days later, Comey announced that the emails on the laptop did not change the FBI's view of the case.

Clinton and his supporters say that Comey's moves in October cost him the 2016 election, and Trump and his Republican allies have used it to justify the dismissal of Comey, the event that eventually led Mueller to be appointed special advisor .

Mueller has so far accused four people in his investigation of the possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, the last national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Of the four, two have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI: Flynn and former Trump campaign adviser.

During Clinton's email inquiry, Page participated regularly when Comey held "skinny group" meetings about the case: a small collection of advisors who met to address sensitive cases, according to people familiar with the case.

Current and former FBI officials say the Strzok issue points to a bigger, unresolved problem facing the agency as it tries to investigate the president and start over with a new director, Christopher Wray. Many of the agency's senior leadership positions are currently held by people who were badigned to those positions by Comey and Wray has not yet managed to make many important changes at the top. But a great cleaning of the house by the new director is widely anticipated within the office.

McCabe, the deputy director, has faced repeated questions from the White House and Republican lawmakers about whether he should have been involved in the Clinton case, given the hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations made to his wife, a candidate for politics. office in Virginia, by a key Clinton ally in 2015.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.