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Dismissed FBI agent changed Comey's language on Clinton emails to 'extremely careless': report

The former FBI official, who was recently fired from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia team over messages critical of President Trump, reportedly edited a key phrase that removed possible legal implications in former FBI Director James Comey's statement about his decision on the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPaltry wage gains, rising deficits two key tax reform concerns Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over alleged election interference MORE email investigation.

Peter Strzok, who served as a counterintelligence expert at the bureau, changed the description of Clinton's actions in Comey's statement, CNN reported Monday, citing U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

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One source told the news outlet that electronic records reveal that Strzok changed the language from "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless," scrubbing a key word that could have had legal ramifications for Clinton. An individual who mishandled classified material could be prosecuted under federal law for "gross negligence."

Strzok, who served as the No. 2 official leading the probe into the Clinton email server, has been thrust into the center of controversy after news of his dismissal from Comey's team.

A group of people were part of the drafting process, using a red pen on Comey's statement before he publicly came forward, another U.S. official familiar with the matter told CNN.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos Grassley: McConnell doesn't control my committee MORE (R-Iowa) questioned the language change after receiving FBI records last month before CNN reported Strzok's edits.

Mueller and his team are broadly investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, including whether Trump campaign aides colluded with the Russians.

In July 2016, Comey said that Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of State was "extremely careless," but he added that "no reasonable prosecutor" would charge her.