FBI official Peter Strzok has lost his security clearance, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday.
Strzok is one of several officials whose bias against President Donald Trump is at the center of a scathing watchdog report released on June 14. Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page exchanged thousands of messages revealing their intense bias against Trump and in favor of his opponent in the 2016 presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The bias was problematic because the pair, who were also having an extramarital affair, played key roles in both the Clinton email and Trump–Russia investigations during the 2016 election. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz determined that Strzok and Page were among five FBI officials who exchanged biased text messages. At least four of them worked on both the Clinton and Trump probes.
“Mr. Strzok, as I understand, has lost his security clearance,” Sessions told radio host Howie Carr.
Strzok was escorted from the FBI headquarters on June 19, according to a statement from his lawyer. Strzok was the lead agent on the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server and the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
He also joined special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller removed Strzok shortly after learning of the messages’ existence from the IG in July 2017. Page left Mueller’s team prior to that.
In one text message, Strzok told Page that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president. Horowitz believes this and other texts showed that Strzok was willing to use his power as a federal investigator to prevent Trump from becoming president. However, the inspector general ultimately concluded that there is no evidence to show that Strzok acted on his bias.
Page resigned from the FBI on May 4.
The inspector general referred all five employees who sent biased messages to the FBI for disciplinary review. FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the bureau will take action based on the review.
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