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Giuliani claims Mueller probe ‘began with Peter Strzok’

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President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed on Monday that the Russia probe “began with” FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and again attacked the investigation as “illegitimate.” 

“It has become crystal clear this investigation that began with Peter Strzok has been continued as an illegitimate investigation and someday we may have to prove that it is,” Giuliani said in an interview with Fox News, one of several he did Monday during which he criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The Mueller probe was launched after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. It was triggered by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Republican appointed by Trump.

There is no evidence that Strzok was involved in starting the probe, but Giuliani and other Trump allies have pointed to text messages sent by Strzok to argue he was biased against Trump, and that this suggests the entire FBI investigation should be questioned.

Strzok, who oversaw the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, was removed last year from Mueller’s probe after the special counsel learned of the texts. 

A Justice Department Inspector General report was highly critical of his tweets, one of which suggested the FBI’s work would stop Trump’s election. It said it did not find evidence, however, that political bias led Justice to not bring charges against Clinton. 

Giuliani also doubled down on his assertion that collusion is not a crime in his interview with Fox News on Monday, repeating the comments he had made earlier on the same network.

Trump has repeatedly described the Russia probe as “a witch hunt” and denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia. 

Tags Donald Trump FBI FBI agent text messages Hillary Clinton James Comey Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Special Counsel investigation

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