FBI agent in Mueller probe was reassigned after anti-Trump texts

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Source: Market Watch Personal Finance

WASHINGTON — The FBI agent who was removed from his post last summer for allegedly sending text messages critical of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign led the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and later served as the top agent on its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Peter Strzok, 47, was one of the highest-ranking agents at the bureau and was considered one of its most experienced counterintelligence experts. As the senior supervisor on the Clinton email investigation, he was in charge of running the probe, reviewing evidence and making recommendations to higher-ups, including then-FBI Director James Comey. He later joined the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Comey’s public clearing of Clinton, in which he described her behavior as careless but not criminal, was widely criticized as an unusual interference in the election, particularly by Republicans. His subsequent decision to publicly disclose that he had reopened the probe on the eve of the election was blamed by Democrats and Clinton herself for helping Trump win.

Colleagues of Strzok’s said they never detected any political bias from him and were unsure of his political bent. An associate said the text messages were mostly reactions to controversial statements made by Trump during the campaign that were seen as being “outside the norms of proper behavior,” especially when he attacked the integrity of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Clinton’s email server.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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Source: Market Watch Personal Finance