The FBI has asked the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general to withhold from Congress the names of three bureau employees found to have exchanged anti-Trump text messages, including from one attorney who worked on the special counsel’s investigation.
“We went to the FBI. The FBI raised a concern because they work on counterintelligence matters, and we are working with the committee to try and get the information you’ve asked for,” Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, testified to Congress on Tuesday.
“So the FBI does not want their names released?” Texas Rep. Ted Poe asked Horowitz.
“Correct,” the inspector general replied.
An OIG report released on Friday identified five current and former FBI employees, including Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, as having sent anti-Trump text messages in 2016 and 2017. OIG referred all five of the officials to the FBI for disciplinary action.
The OIG report revealed for the first time that Strzok, the FBI’s top investigator on the Russia probe, told Page in an Aug. 8, 2016 text message that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president.
The report also identifies text messages from FBI employees referred to as FBI Attorney 2, FBI Agent 1, and FBI Agent 5 who expressed anti-Trump sentiments.
FBI Attorney 2, who was the FBI’s top lawyer on the Russia probe and worked on the special counsel’s investigation until this February, wrote “Viva le resistance” in one Nov. 22, 2016 text message referring to Trump. (RELATED: ‘Viva Le Resistance’: Mueller Team Attorney Sent Anti-Trump Texts)
“I am numb,” he wrote in a text message the day after Trump was elected.
The report also flagged text messages exchanged between two FBI agents identified as FBI Agent 1 and FBI Agent 5. Agent 1 took part in the July 2, 2016 interview of Hillary Clinton. Neither he nor Agent 5 worked on the Russia probe. (RELATED: Five FBI Officials Referred For Disciplinary Action Over Anti-Trump Texts)
“I’m done interviewing the President,” Agent 1 wrote after the Clinton interview, joking referring to the Democratic candidate.
In another exchange, the Agent 1 wrote that he was “Not sure if Trump or the [FBI’s] fifth floor is worse.”
“I’m so sick of both,” FBI Agent 5 replied.
The agents also exchanged text messages on Election Day suggesting that there would be riots if Trump won the election.
“You think HRC is gonna win right? You think we should get nails and some boards in case she doesnt,” FBI Agent 1 wrote.
“She better win,” wrote Agent 5, “otherwise i’m gonna be walking around with both of my guns.”
Contacted last week about the identity of FBI Attorney 2, the OIG referred The Daily Caller News Foundation to the special counsel’s office. A spokesman for Mueller’s team declined to identify the lawyer, but said that he did not work as a prosecutor or an investigator. The FBI refused to identify the lawyer.
Horowitz said Tuesday that he hopes that he can work with the FBI to provide the three unnamed FBI agents’ identities to Congress.
“There’s a legitimate request, reasonable request from the committee, and I don’t think it is a final decision at this point from the FBI, or in my view a final decision. It’s something I’m looking forward to working with the committee to try to get the answers to because I completely understand what the interest is of the committee in getting that information,” Horowitz testified.
Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis asked Horowitz why Strzok and Page could be identified in the OIG report while the identifies of the three other anti-Trump FBI employees could be shielded.
Horowitz said that the OIG considered the Privacy Act and determined that the three unnamed employees were “lower down” compared to Strzok in terms of importance to the Clinton investigation.
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