Meadows says FBI made 'right' decision firing Strzok

Meadows says FBI made 'right' decision firing Strzok
 
"It's about time," Meadows said in a statement.
 
 
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"Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI because of what his own written words plainly showed: he was willing to use his official FBI position to try and stop President Trump from getting elected," said Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
 
"He tarnished the FBI's sterling reputation and severely damaged public trust in an institution where trust is paramount," Meadows added.
 
Strzok, a 21-year FBI veteran, has faced repeated attacks from Trump and Republicans after a Justice Department internal investigation revealed that he had sent text messages criticizing then-candidate Trump and other political figures. 
 
Strzok's lawyer, Aitan Goelman, confirmed his firing, which took place on Friday.
 
Goelman slammed the decision in a statement, calling it a departure from the bureau's established precedent. The firing came after a top FBI official "overruled" the decision by the bureau's disciplinary office, which had planned to demote Strzok and give him a 60-day suspension.

"The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts Director [Christopher] Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters," Goelman said in a statement.

GOP critics say Strzok’s texts with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page — with whom he was having an extramarital affair at the time — are clear evidence of anti-Trump bias.

They argue Strzok's disdain toward Trump may have influenced two high-profile FBI probes, given Strzok’s central role in both the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of State and the beginnings of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference.

Democrats, as well as Strzok’s lawyer, have claimed that the attacks on Strzok are an attempt to undermine Mueller's probe, which is examining ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“It is a decision that produces only one winner — those who seek to harm our country and weaken our democracy,” Goelman said in his statement.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report earlier this year that fiercely criticized Strzok for his conduct, saying he displayed a “biased state of mind” during a key phase of the Clinton email probe.

One of the most explosive revelations from Horowitz's report was a text Strzok sent to Page in which he said they will "stop" Trump from becoming president.

Horowitz, however, said his investigative team found no evidence that any decision made during the course of the investigation was a result of political bias or improper influence. Nonetheless, the report found that those actions cast a cloud over the department and was deeply critical of FBI and Justice Department leadership.

Mueller promptly removed Strzok from his team after Horowitz's internal review uncovered the critical text messages that disparaged Trump and his supporters.

Goelman emphasized that there is no evidence to support that Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work, noting that these fall under his First Amendment rights.

“A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of Congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work,” Goelman said.

“In fact, in his decades of service, Special Agent Strzok has proved himself to be one of the country’s top counterintelligence officers, leading to only one conclusion — the decision to terminate was taken in response to political pressure, and to punish Special Agent Strzok for political speech protected by the First Amendment, not on a fair and independent examination of the facts.”