Mueller removed investigator from team after discovering anti-Trump text messages

Mueller removed investigator from team after discovering anti-Trump text messages

Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and other committee Republicans, after considering such action for several weeks, chose to move after media including the New York Times reported Saturday on why a top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russia-Trump election collusion had been removed from the investigation.

Strzok was reportedly reassigned this past summer from the Mueller investigation to the FBI's human resources department, according to The Times. The people briefed on the case said the transfer followed the discovery of text messages in which Strzok and a colleague reacted to news events, such as presidential debates, in ways that could appear anti-Trump.

"Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel's Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation", Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, confirmed to Fox News. Law enforcement officials who have worked with Strzok told the New York Times they've seen no evidence to suggest he let his political views influence the investigation.

A lawyer for Mr. Strzok declined to comment.

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Trump has criticized the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation, initially citing it as his reason for firing former FBI director James Comey on May 9.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sara Isgur Flores said in an email that "we disagree with the chairman's characterization and will continue to work with congressional committees to provide the information they request consistent with our national security responsibilities". Some conservatives encouraged Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Mueller, saying the investigation was tainted. But the issue was resurrected in late October, when Comey informed congressional leaders that the FBI had discovered new Clinton emails on a laptop belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner, then the subject of a separate FBI investigation.

Agent Peter Strzok is considered one of the most experienced investigators in the FBI and previously assisted with the Hillary Clinton email investigation, before moving on to investigate Russia's interference in the election. Of the four, two have pled guilty to lying to the FBI - Flynn and a former Trump campaign adviser. Former national security adviser Mike Flynn also pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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