The FBI has fired agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election until officials discovered that he had been sending anti-Trump texts.
Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing Friday, even though the director of the FBI office that usually handles employee discipline had decided that Strzok, 48, should face only a demotion and a 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.
“This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Goelman said, adding in a statement, “This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans.”
Strzok wrote on Twitter, “Deeply saddened by this decision. It has been an honor to serve my country and work with the fine men and women of the FBI.”
The FBI declined to comment.
The termination is a remarkable downfall for Strzok, a 22-year member of the bureau who investigated Russian spies, defense officials accused of selling secrets to China and myriad other important cases. In the twilight of his career, Strzok was integral to two of the bureau’s most high-profile investigations: the Russia case and the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.