FBI agent Peter Strzok’s lawyer on Thursday slammed the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusion that he took actions “not free from bias,” calling the conclusion “bizarre” and “critically flawed.”
The report concluded that there was no evidence of political bias found behind certain controversial decisions taken at the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the Clinton email investigation, but the authors revealed a text message from Strzok that indicated a “biased state of mind” and a “willingness to take action.”
The report revealed that Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his lover, had texted him on August 8, 2016: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president right? Right?!”
Strzok texted back, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
The report said Strzok’s bias may have led to his prioritizing the investigation into the Trump campaign over the Clinton email investigation — and his lack of action in September and October 2016 when the FBI’s office in New York found thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the husband of her top aide Huma Abedin.
Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, wrote in a lengthy statement:
“[T]he report is critically flawed in its bizarre conclusion that the IG cannot rule out ‘with confidence’ the possibility that Special Agent Strzok’s political ‘bias’ may have been a cause of the FBI’s failure, between September 29 and October 25, 2016, to seek a second search warrant for the Anthony Weiner laptop.
“In facts, all facts contained in the report lead to the conclusion that the delay was caused by a variety of factors and miscommunications that had nothing to do with Special Agent Strzok’s political views. The report itself provides indisputable evidence that, when informed that Weiner’s laptop contained Clinton emails, Strzok immediately had the matter pursued by two of his most qualified and aggressive investigators.”
“While pundits and politicians are using this matter to advance their agendas, the truth about Special Agent Strzok’s character and professionalism is found in the fact that every witness asked by the OIG said that Strzok’s work was never influenced by political views. His dedication to unbiased service is a fact that would be universally echoed by the thousands of people who have worked with Pete during his 26 years of service in the FBI and U.S. Army.”
Inspector General Michael Horowitz last year discovered thousands of text messages between Strzok and Page, who were both involved in the FBI’s Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations and having an extramarital affair.
After they were discovered, Strzok was forced to leave the special counsel team, and was transferred to human resources. According to reports in April, Strzok still has his security clearance.
The August 8, 2016, text message exchange was discovered by investigators using forensic tools in May 2018.
The exchange, as well as other text messages between Strzok and Page, led the DOJ IG report to conclude investigators “did not have confidence” that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over the Clinton emails found “was free from bias.”