The Justice Department defended a decision to release nearly 400 of FBI agent Peter Strzok’s anti-Trump text messages Thursday, claiming his former position on Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigative team made the information relevant.
The defense comes after Democrat members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the DOJ demanding they explain the “unusual” decision to release Strzok’s messages. DOJ Public Affairs Director Sarah Flores fired back, saying the department had committed no wrongdoing and was sure to allow Congress to view the texts before releasing them publicly, CNN reported Thursday.
“When the initial inquiries came from committees and members of Congress, the deputy attorney general consulted with the inspector general, and the inspector general determined that he had no objection to the Department’s providing the material to the Congressional committees that had requested it,” Flores said in a statement to CNN. “After that consultation, senior career ethics advisers determined that there were no legal or ethical concerns, including under the Privacy Act, that prohibited the release of the information to the public either by members of Congress or by the Department.”
Mueller fired Strzok in August, but it wasn’t until Dec. 2 that the public would learn it was over his apparent bias evidenced by the text messages. Strzok is not the only Mueller prosecutor who could be biased against President Donald Trump, however, as Strzok sent his messages to his mistress FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who is also a member of the prosecution team.
At least nine of Mueller’s prosecutors have histories of voting for Democrats. Andrew Weissman – the lawyer Mueller chose to prosecute Paul Manafort – attended former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s election night rally in the Javits Center and even praised former acting Attorney General Salley Yates for fighting Trump’s travel ban.
Two other attorney’s on Mueller’s team, Jeannie Rhee and Aaron Zebley, both represented some part of the Clinton camp during the candidate’s infamous private email scandal.
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