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FBI removes agent for anti-Trump text



Associated Press
Saturday, December 02, 2017

A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian election meddling after the discovery of an exchange of anti-Trump text messages, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The removal of the agent, who also had worked on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, occurred this summer. The person who discussed the matter with the Associated Press was not authorized to speak about it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, said Mueller removed the agent, Peter Strzok, from the team “immediately upon learning of the allegations.”

The swift removal undoubtedly reflected a desire to insulate the investigators from any claims of political bias or favoritism. President Donald Trump and many of his supporters have sought to discredit the investigation, in part by claiming a close relationship between Mueller and fired FBI Director James Comey and by pointing to political contributions to Democratic candidates made by some lawyers on the team.

The existence of the text messages was brought to the attention of Mueller’s office by the inspector general’s office, which has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he “had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

The tweet suggests that Trump was aware when he dismissed Flynn on Feb. 13 that he had lied to the FBI, which had interviewed him weeks earlier. Comey has said that Trump the following day brought up the Flynn investigation in private at the White House and told him that he hoped he could “let this go.”