Former FBI agent Peter Strzok suing government over firing for anti-Trump texts

Peter Strzok, the previous FBI agent who labored on the Trump-Russia “collusion” probe and was dismissed after his private anti-Trump texts have been revealed, is suing the government over his firing.

In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Strzok accuses the Justice Department and the FBI of violating his First and Fifth Amendment rights by firing him over the textual content messages and refusing to let him problem the choice.

Strzok, who was dismissed in August 2018, claims the choice was politically-motivated and got here because of “unrelenting pressure” from President Donald Trump, who had sought to make use of the texts to show bias existed in opposition to him inside the FBI.

On varied events, Trump lashed out at Strzok on Twitter, calling him a “sick loser” and a “fraud” who was engaged on a “rigged” investigation.

Strzok believes the anti-Trump messages, which he despatched to fellow FBI worker Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, have been protected political speech. In probably the most controversial change, Strzok advised Page he would “stop” Trump from profitable the presidency. In testimony earlier than Congress final 12 months, Strzok stated the message had been written “late at night off the cuff” in response to some feedback then-candidate Trump had simply made.

Strzok claims that FBI Assistant Director Candice Will had initially advisable in opposition to firing him and as an alternative advised he be demoted and suspended with out pay for 60 days. Despite the preliminary suggestion, nonetheless, Strzok was fired with fast impact, which meant he was “deprived” of the chance to problem and attraction the choice.

Strzok’s lawsuit claims there was a “concerted public campaign” to “disparage” and hearth him following the “unlawful disclosure” to the media of the textual content messages. The DOJ didn’t disclose who on the division had approved the discharge of the messages, however Strzok is hoping to seek out out because the case unfolds.

A report launched final 12 months by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz additionally accused Strzok of displaying a “biased state of mind” when he was a part of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s non-public e-mail server.