An FBI agent who sent anti-Trump messages while working on the Russia investigation has been fired by the intelligence agency.
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The politically charged text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, caused uproar among Republicans who claimed it was proof the investigation into Russian collusion was politically motivated.
Mr Strozk was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation after the messages were discovered.
On Monday Aitan Goelman, Mr Strzok’s lawyer, said the FBI’s Deputy Director ordered his client’s dismissal on Friday – despite the fact that the agency’s disciplinary office had ruled Mr Strzok should face a demotion and 60-day suspension.
Mr Goelman told the Washington Post the firing went against the FBI’s repeated assurances that Mr Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.
“This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Mr Goelman said.
Mr Strzok and Ms Page sent a series of messages railing against Mr Trump as a candidate and after the 2016 vote – while they both worked on the Russia investigation.
In one exchange in March 2016, Ms Page refers to Mr Trump as a "loathsome human" with Mr Strzok responding, "Yet he may win," later saying, "America will get what the voting public deserves."
In another exchange, in October 2016, Mr Strzok writes to Ms Page: "I am riled up. Trump is a (expletive) idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer… What the f*** happened to our country".
President Donald Trump has frequently cited Mr Strzok when referring to the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt" which is politically motivated.
In one tweet, Mr Trump wrote: “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired?
"So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”
Mr Strzok was removed from the team as soon as the allegations were brought to the Special Counsel’s attention and Ms Page returned to the FBI.
Mr Strzok had investigated Russian spies, defense officials accused of selling secrets to China and a number of other important cases during his 22-year career at the FBI.
In the last two years he had worked on the agency’s two most high-profile investigations – the Russia probe and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
He has repeatedly denied he allowed his political views to impact his work for the agency.