FBI agent in texts: ‘We’ll stop’ Trump from becoming president
An FBI agent who was removed from the probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign texted an FBI attorney that the agency would “stop” then-candidate Donald Trump from becoming president.
Text messages disclosed Thursday in a highly anticipated report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog showed Peter Strzok, a top investigator into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, seemingly reassuring lawyer Lisa Page that Trump would not become president, The Washington Post reported.
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok in August 2016.
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.
The text messages’ disclosure comes as part of the inspector general’s review of former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
In his report, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that Comey “deviated” from standard FBI procedure in the Clinton investigation, but was not motivated by political bias.
The conclusion, first reported by Bloomberg, also found that Strzok’s and Page’s potential political biases never “directly affected” the specific investigative actions that were reviewed in the report.
“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed,” the report’s conclusion reads.
Strzok and Page were removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation over the text messages, which were obtained by internal investigators, in the summer of 2017. The exchange, however, negatively affected public perception of the office, the report found.
“The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation,” the report says.
President Trump and his GOP allies in Congress have pointed to the text exchange as proof of systemic political bias against him in both the Mueller investigation and within the top ranks of the federal government.
Updated 12:40 p.m.