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Peter Strzok Sues FBI, DoJ Over Text Message Release
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=4946"><span class="small">Eric Tucker, Associated Press</span></a>   
Thursday, 08 August 2019 08:26

Tucker writes: "A veteran FBI agent who wrote derogatory text messages about Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the bureau caved to 'unrelenting pressure' from the president when it fired him."

Peter Strzok’s lawsuit will likely reignite a long-running debate over his actions and potential FBI bias. (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Peter Strzok’s lawsuit will likely reignite a long-running debate over his actions and potential FBI bias. (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Peter Strzok Sues FBI, DoJ Over Text Message Release

By Eric Tucker, Associated Press

08 August 19


veteran FBI agent who wrote derogatory text messages about Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the bureau caved to "unrelenting pressure" from the president when it fired him.

The suit from Peter Strzok also alleges he was unfairly punished for expressing his political opinions, and that the Justice Department violated his privacy when it shared hundreds of his text messages with reporters.

"The campaign to publicly vilify Special Agent Strzok contributed to the FBI's ultimate decision to unlawfully terminate him," the lawsuit says, "as well as to frequent incidents of public and online harassment and threats of violence to Strzok and his family that began when the texts were first disclosed to the media and continue to this day."

The complaint, which names as defendants Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray, revisits a political drama that was seized on by conservative critics of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation as proof that the bureau was biased against Trump. Multiple investigations are underway examining whether the FBI acted properly during the Russia investigation, and Strzok remains a frequent target of Trump's scornful tweets.

Representatives of the FBI and Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The suit provides new details about the circumstances of Strzok's firing and amounts to the latest defense of his reputation, coming months after a fiery congressional hearing in which he insisted that his personal views never influenced his work.

Strzok, a veteran counterintelligence agent who helped lead FBI investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, was removed from Mueller's team after the texts with FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to light. He was fired from the FBI last August.

Many of the texts, on FBI cell phones, were bitingly critical of Trump during his 2016 run for office. They were found by the Justice Department's inspector general during its investigation of the FBI's Clinton email probe.

The watchdog office criticized both Strzok and Page, with whom he was having an affair, for their judgment in sending the messages but did not find that the Clinton email investigation was compromised by political bias.

In the lawsuit, Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman says the FBI deputy director who fired him was responding to "unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media."

That deputy, David Bowdich, overruled the recommendation of a disciplinary official that he be merely demoted and suspended without pay and denied him the chance to appeal.

Bowdich said at the time that Strzok's "sustained pattern of bad judgment in the use of an FBI device" for texting called into question decisions made during the Clinton email investigation and the early stages of the Russia probe. And the FBI has said that Bowdich, as the FBI's No. 2 official, had the authority to overrule disciplinary findings.

The complaint says the campaign to fire Strzok included "constant tweets and other disparaging statements" from Trump, as well as the president's direct appeals to Wray and Barr's predecessor as attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to fire Strzok.

The lawsuit says the administration discriminated against his viewpoint by firing him even though other government officials who have supported Trump in the workplace have kept their job. It notes that the White House has not fired counselor Kellyanne Conway despite the determination that she violated the Hatch Act — a law that limits political activity by government workers — by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity.

"The Trump administration has consistently tolerated and even encouraged partisan political speech by federal employees, as long as this speech praises President Trump and attacks his political adversaries," the complaint contends.

The lawsuit also says the Justice Department set out to smear Strzok's reputation and humiliate him when it disclosed nearly 400 text messages he had sent or received.

In the complaint, Strzok also aims to explain some of the texts that have attracted the most negative attention, including one in which he told Page "we'll stop" a Trump presidency.

Conservatives interpreted the text as Strzok saying that he would work to prevent Trump from being elected, but the suit says the message was actually meant to reassure Page that the American people would not support a Trump candidacy.

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+1 # elizabethblock 2019-08-08 10:48
How much pressure did it require to get the FBI to do this?

But: Let this be a lesson to all of us. Never assume email or texts or anything electronic is private. Maybe your landline, if you still have one. How about old-fashioned face-to-face conversation?
+4 # tedrey 2019-08-08 12:35
Trump didn't want anyone on the investigation who did not support him... and then had the gall to claim (after the report) that all the investigators were biased against him, but also that it exonerated him. Nothing he says makes sense, even by accident. I used to explain his thought processes as two dimensional, but now I think they are no-dimensional. Or pure dementia.
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-08-08 12:51
I don't think Borowitz could come up with something this insane. The MOFO was using an FBI issued phone, wrote 50,000 text messages and emails while on the clock, revealed secret FBI information. This is not to mention he was having an affair with a much younger woman who was new in the office.

If I did this on my job, I'd be fired sure as hell. I doubt if anyone needed to "smear" Strzok. His texts did that enough. Strzok's text messages show him to be a massive prick.

Strozk should be thanking Bill Barr. He decided not to indict James Comey even though IG Horowitz recommended it. Maybe he will spare Strzok from an indictment and prison time. But I hope not. This MOFO needs some jail time so he can reflect on what he did for 22 years at the FBI.
+1 # Jaax88 2019-08-08 16:44
With regard to Bumble Butt it is clear no rules apply to him. Why in the world does he get to expect rules apply to other people, particularly his detractors, his critics and people he does not like. Strozk appears to have been dense to use the company email, but as to his firing it appears there is no case, otherwise it appears hands down Bumble Butt should be impeached for lack of knowledge, intelligence and his general stupidity. I keep wondering what is wrong with Bumble Butt as a president. Quite clearly he is not a leader of our nation: he neither "leads from the behind," nor leads from the front by leading it in new, positive and important directions. As far as I can tell he is merely an "enforcer" in the Mafia sense, do as I demand you or I will punish you. In other words a thug.