Embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok was escorted from his office at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington as part of an internal disciplinary review that his lawyer says may be tainted by political influence.
“Despite being put through a highly questionable process, Pete has complied with every FBI procedure, including being escorted from the building as part of the ongoing internal proceedings,” Aitan Goelman of the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, said in a statement Tuesday.
Strzok has become a lightning rod in a partisan fight over whether political bias affected the FBI investigations into Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
Strzok exchanged text messages with another FBI official, Lisa Page, that were sharply critical of Trump and supportive of Clinton before and after the 2016 election. He was the lead investigator on the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server, and then helped lead the early investigation into whether Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who later took over the Russia probe, removed Strzok after he learned of the text exchanges.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a 500-page report on the Clinton email investigation last week finding that Strzok and Page were among five FBI officials who showed anti-Trump bias. But he concluded that didn’t affect investigative decisions, including the recommendation against prosecuting Clinton for mishandling classified information.
Still, Horowitz referred Strzok and the other officials to the FBI for possible disciplinary action. Page left the FBI in May.
Strzok has been a favorite target of tweets by President Trump, including one on Sunday asking, “Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!”
Goelman confirmed that Strzok remains an FBI employee but said he isn’t getting fair treatment.
“Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks,” Goelman said. “All of this seriously calls into question the impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence.”