The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Thursday it had requested FBI records related to the demotion of Peter Strzok from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian activities during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, was reassigned to the bureau’s human resources division over the summer after Mueller was informed of anti-Trump text messages sent between Strzok and Lisa Page, a fellow FBI official as well as Strzok’s paramour.
The messages, approximately 375 of which were obtained by Fox News late Tuesday, included messages from Strzok to Page referring to Trump as “a f—ing idiot” and saying “Hillary [Clinton] should win” the election by “100,000,000-0.”
The lawsuit also seeks information about how Strzok was assigned to Mueller’s investigation in the first place.
“It is disturbing the FBI has stonewalled our request about the Mr. Strzok [sic] demotion for four months,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “One can only conclude the FBI and Justice Department (including Mr. Mueller’s operation) wanted to hide the truth about how Strzok’s and Page’s political biases and misconduct have compromised both the Clinton email and Russia collusion investigations.”
Strzok participated in the FBI’s fateful interview with Clinton on July 2, 2016 – just days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was declining to recommend prosecution of Mrs. Clinton in connection with her use of a private email server.
Strzok also changed Comey’s early draft language in his statement about Clinton’s actions from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General is reviewing Strzok’s role in the Clinton investigation, as well as other politically sensitive cases. The probe is expected to be completed early next year.