Politics

McCabe Said He, Not Mueller, Removed Trump-Hating Strzok From Russia Probe

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe took credit for removing Trump-hating agent Peter Strzok from the Mueller investigation.

McCabe told the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees in December 2017 that he, not Mueller, raised a red flag about the appropriateness of Deputy Assistant Director Strzok investigating Trump. The revelation is contained in a transcript of McCabe’s testimony, released Monday night.

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok testifies before the House Committees on Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform joint hearing on "Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions Surrounding the 2016 Election" in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok testifies before the House Committees on Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform joint hearing on “Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions Surrounding the 2016 Election” in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The former deputy director told the committees that he first learned of Strzok’s inflammatory text messages castigating Trump on July 27, 2017. “I made the decision to remove him from the investigation that evening,” McCabe said. (RELATED: Strzok: ‘We’ll Stop’ Trump Presidency)

When asked if he made that decision on the same day, McCabe responded, “I came back from my meeting with the inspector general. I met with a very small group of my fellow leaders. We discussed Peter’s reassignment, and we discussed where we would place him.”

He did not clarify whether then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller was informed of the decision. (RELATED: Andrew McCabe Defends Use Of Steele Dossier, Confidential Informant, In Trump-Russia Probe)

The revelation of Strzok’s personal animus towards Trump, as indicated by his personal text messages, seemed to support the president’s assessment of the Mueller investigation being composed of Democrats bent on his destruction. Strzok called Trump “a fu**ing idiot” in one message.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the 38th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the 38th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Strzok’s role in the Mueller probe came to an end two months into the investigation. Ironically, despite his feelings towards Trump, Strzok had texted that he saw no real evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Strzok failed to include McCabe’s role in the FBI agent’s dismissal when it was his turn to testify before the judiciary and oversight committees.

“My recollection is that there was a brief discussion between me, the special counsel, and one of his attorneys, a discussion of his desire and, you know, expression that he thought it would be appropriate for me to return to the FBI,” Strzok told Republican Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe.

Strzok admitted that the text messages were the cause of his removal.

“My recollection was there was a sense of regret. There was a sense that special counsel Mueller absolutely wanted to run an investigation that was not only independent but also presented the appearance of independence, and the concern that these texts might be construed otherwise,” Strzok told the committee.

Mueller also claimed to have made the decision to fire Strzok. “Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel’s Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation,” read a statement from the special counsel’s office on Dec. 2, 2017.

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