WASHINGTON, D.C. – Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who was fired from the agency following the release of text messages critical of then-President Donald Trump while part of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, has had his official termination letter publicly released, detailing the exact reasons for his release.
Strzok, a 22 year veteran of the FBI, had been removed from the removed Russia investigation in July 2017 after text message exchanges between him and FBI lawyer Lisa Page sent during the 2016 election campaign were discovered; the texts which criticized Trump and his supporters, with Strzok telling Page that he would “stop” Trump.
One August 15, 2016 text message in particular drew scrutiny from Congressional Republicans, wherein Strzok told Page that “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s [referring to Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI] office that there’s no way Trump gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
It was also revealed that the married Strzok – who had also been involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail investigation – had been having an affair with Page at the time, who was a trial attorney on Mueller’s team.
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Strzok’s two-page termination letter penned by FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich was made public on Friday. Despite some consideration being given for the agent’s long career, the letter ultimately reads as a harsh dismissal of Strzok’s judgement while participating in federal investigations of the highest level, causing major damage to the FBI’s reputation as a result.
“I considered the Douglas Factors drafted by the AD of the Counterintelligence Division, your role as one of the most senior counterintelligence agents in the FBI, and finally I considered the long term damage to the reputation of the FBI,” Bowdich wrote. “While there is no doubt your 21 years of service to the organization cannot and should not be erased, it is difficult to fathom the repeated, sustained errors of judgement you made while serving as the lead agent in two of the most high profile investigations in the country.“
“Your sustained pattern of bad judgement in the use of an FBI device has called into question for many the decisions made during both the Clinton e-mail investigation and the initial state of the Russian Collusion investigation. In short, your repeated selfishness has called into question the credibility of the entire FBI,“ the FBI Deputy Director continued. “As I considered all the known facts associated with the adjudication of your case it was difficult to imagine another incident like yours which brought so much discredit to the organizations. In my 23 years in the FBI, I have not seen a more impactful series of missteps which called into question the entire organization and more thoroughly damaged the reputation of the organization.”
“In your adjudication, I removed all the politics, pundits, commentary, and the media from reporting the decision point which I must address,” Bowdich concluded. “When I strip away all the ‘noise,’ I am left with the facts and extremely damaging impact to the organization, which will take years to overcome.”