Mueller removed top Federal Bureau of Investigation agent over possible anti-Trump texts
- Author: Ryan Wade Dec 04, 2017,
Dec 04, 2017, 0:53
The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed a top investigator amid allegations that he had sent text messages appearing critical of President Donald Trump, the office confirmed to The New York Times on Saturday. A review of the texts is now underway to determine whether the two agents allowed political bias to influence their work, but regardless of what that investigation concludes, the story is sure to provide ammunition for those, like President Trump and his defenders, who have accused the Mueller investigation, FBI, and overall intelligence community of being driven by partisanship.
"Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel's Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation", said Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office.
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The texts came up during an investigation into how the FBI handled (or mishandled) the Clinton's email inquiry, which is being led by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz. A Justice Department spokeswoman said "We are aware of the allegations and are taking any and all appropriate steps". However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation does allow its agents to express opinions "as an individual privately and publicly on political subjects and candidates".
The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General has been reviewing both the FBI's and Justice handling of the Clinton probe, which cleared the Mrs. Clinton of criminal wrongdoing. One of the sources said the probe will be completed by "very early next year". Multiple outlets report he's now working in human resources. Some conservatives encouraged Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Mueller, saying the investigation was tainted. But in August, news outlets reported that he was no longer involved in the special counsel effort.
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Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has had a testy relationship with President Trump at times. The next day, Trump appeared to dismiss those efforts in a tweet, telling Tillerson he was " wasting his time ".
"I am concerned, however, that our chairman is willing to use the subpoena and contempt power of the House, not to determine how the Russians interfered in our election or whether the president obstructed Justice, but only to distract from the core of our investigation", Schiff said. Trump has called the probe a "witch hunt", while Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the accusation is the result of Clinton's supporters not wanting to admit the Democratic candidate has only herself to blame for losing the election.
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Gadi Eisenkot told the paper, adding that Tel Aviv wanted to " exchange intelligence to confront Iran ". They condemned what they described as Iran's constant meddling in Arab affairs.