Five Anti-Trump FBI Officials Referred For Disciplinary Action Over Private Messages
Five FBI officials, including Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, have been referred to the bureau for possible disciplinary action over anti-Trump text messages.
In addition to Strzok and Page, the three other officials referred for disciplinary action are two FBI agents and an attorney who worked on the special counsel’s Russia investigation. The investigation will focus on whether the employees violated the FBI’s Offense Codes and Penalty Guidelines.
“The FBI will handle these referrals pursuant to the FBI’s disciplinary investigation and adjudication processes, and will impose disciplinary measures as warranted,” reads a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). (RELATED: ‘Viva Le Resistance’: FBI Attorney Removed From Mueller Team Over Anti-Trump Texts)
“The conduct of the five FBI employees … has brought discredit to themselves, sowed doubt about the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation, and impacted the reputation of the FBI,” reads the report.
“In its review of collected materials, the OIG found that several FBI employees had exchanged text messages, instant messages, or both, that included political statements hostile to or favoring particular candidates, and appeared to mix political opinion with discussions” about the Hillary Clinton email probe.
Anti-Trump exchanges between Strzok and Page have been well documented. The pair, who were having an extramarital affair, frequently criticized Trump while they were both working on the FBI’s Russia investigation.
“F Trump,” Page, an FBI attorney, wrote in one message to Strzok, the bureau’s deputy chief of counterintelligence.
In one Aug. 8, 2016 text, Strzok told Page that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president. (RELATED: Strzok: ‘We’ll Stop’ Trump Presidency)
Strzok was removed from the special counsel’s investigation last July after the OIG discovered the messages.
Thursday’s report reveals for the first time that three other FBI officials exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Clinton messages. One FBI lawyer who worked on the Clinton investigation and served as the bureau’s top attorney on the Russia probe said he felt “numb” by Trump’s November 2016 election win.
And on Nov. 22, 2016, he wrote “Viva le Resistance” when asked about Trump.
The lawyer, who has not been identified, joined Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team last May but left in late February 2018 after the OIG revealed the private messages.
The OIG report also flags messages exchanged between two agents referred to as “Agent 1” and “Agent 5.” Both worked on the Clinton investigation but not on the Trump-Russia probe.
Agent 1 was one of the agents who, along with Strzok, interviewed Hillary Clinton in July 2016.
“I’m done interviewing the President,” the agent wrote, referring jokingly to then-candidate Clinton.
In another exchange, the agent wrote that they were “Not sure if Trump or the [FBI’s] fifth floor is worse.”
Agent 5 responded “I’m so sick of both.”
The agents also suggested in text messages on Election Day that there would be riots if Trump defeated Clinton.
“You think HRC is gonna win right? You think we should get nails and some boards in case she doesnt,” Agent 1 wrote.
“She better win… otherwise i’m gonna be walking around with both of my guns,” Agent 5 responded.
Though the OIG, led by Michael Horowitz, blasted the FBI officials over the messages, the agency said it “found no evidence to connect the political views expressed by these employees with the specific investigative decisions” in the Clinton email probe.
The report did not assess whether Strzok, Page or the other agents displayed bias that affected their work on the Trump-Russia investigation.