Mueller removed investigator from team after discovering anti-Trump text messages

Mueller Reportedly Removed FBI Agent from Investigation Due to Anti-Trump Texts

The special counsel examining alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election removed a top FBI investigator from his team for exchanging text messages with a colleague that expressed anti-Trump views, two US newspapers reported on Saturday.

"The agent, Peter Strzok, is considered one of the most experienced and trusted F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators".

A spokesperson for the special counsel's office, Peter Carr, said "Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the special counsel's office removed Strzok from the investigation", reported New York Times.

Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was assigned to the Mueller investigation, received the messages.

The inquiry into Mr. Strzok is being conducted by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, who is leading a broad examination of how the F.B.I. handled the Clinton email investigation.

Reports suggest that Mueller, who ran the FBI from 2001 until 2013, knows any illusion that his team holds unfair political biases could sever the public's trust in the investigation.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said Saturday that department officials are "aware of the allegations" related to Strzok "and are taking any and all appropriate steps". Page returned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this summer.


The FBI declined to comment.

Mueller was appointed in May to lead the Justice Department's investigation into whether President Trump or any of his associates colluded with Russian during the 2016 White House race.

As chief of the FBI's counterespionage section previous year, he helped oversee the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was the secretary of state, and he took part in the bureau's interview of her. The agent, Peter Strzok, now works in the FBI's human resources department.

The inspector general's office "has been reviewing allegations involving communications between certain individuals, and will report its findings regarding those allegations promptly upon completion of the review of them", the statement said.

"It took weeks for this information to land with Mr. Strzok and his team", The Times reported in April. Trump has criticized the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation, initially citing it as his reason for firing former FBI director James Comey on May 9.

This story will be updated if there is a presidential response specifically about Strzok.

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