The FBI has fired Peter Strzok over anti-Trump text messages he exchanged with his lover during the 2016 presidential campaign, Strzok’s lawyer Aitan Goelman confirmed Monday.
Strzok, who led the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, was fired on Friday on the orders of FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich, Goelman said. The decision overruled a previous FBI decision that Strzok should face a demotion and 60-day suspension.
“This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,” Goelman said in a statement Monday. Goelman accused Bowdich of bowing to political pressure and said the firing was not based “on a fair and independent examination of the facts.”
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
Strzok has been a lighting rod since text messages he exchanged with another FBI investigator, Lisa Page, became public. In thousands of messages, Strzok and Page disparage the president and other political figures.
The president and a number of Republican lawmakers have seized on the texts to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Mueller removed Strzok from his team in the summer of 2017 after he became aware of the text messages. Strzok was re-assigned to the FBI’s human resources department.
President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018