BREAKING: Sen. Grassley of Senate Judiciary just fired off letter to new FBI director Wray demanding copy of anti-Trump investigator FBI Agent Peter Strzok's 302 interview summary with Michael Flynn, along with all dossier and FISA communications involving Strzok.
WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking the FBI to prioritize producing documents relating to the activities of high-ranking FBI Agent Peter Strzok, following reports that Strzok engaged in communications demonstrating political bias while handling matters in two sensitive, high-profile investigations. To date, the FBI has failed to comply with previous, broader Committee requests that called for records relating to the communications of Stzrok and others regarding Director Comey’s controversial public statement during last year’s Presidential election.
Strzok was the deputy assistant director for the FBI’s counterintelligence division and working on the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to conduct official business when he reportedly shared text messages disparaging now-President Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton. According to news reports and documents provided to the Committee, Strzok appears to have been responsible for removing language suggesting legal jeopardy for Clinton in former FBI director James Comey’s conclusion of that investigation. Strzok was also among the two agents who would eventually interview former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Strzok’s behavior and involvement in these two politically-sensitive cases raises new concerns of inappropriate political influence in the work of the FBI.
In October, Grassley wrote to Strzok requesting voluntary cooperation and a private transcribed interview with the Committee. The Committee has received no letter in reply.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Grassley requested the text messages at issue, any further communications containing favorable or unfavorable statements about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and any communications involving Strzok regarding decisions about closing the Clinton investigation or opening the investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government.
Full text of Grassley’s letter follows.
December 5, 2017
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable Christopher Wray
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535
Dear Director Wray:
Over the summer, media outlets reported that Peter Strzok was removed from his position in the FBI’s counterintelligence division and from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and had been reassigned to work in the FBI’s human resources department. According to recent media reports, Mr. Mueller removed Mr. Strzok from the team after discovering that he and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, his alleged mistress, “had exchanged politically charged texts disparaging President Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton.” It appears the Special Counsel may have learned this information from the Office of Inspector General’s ongoing review of the handling of controversial pre-election activities of the Justice Department and FBI related to the campaign.
Reportedly, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page exchanged these text messages while working on the Clinton investigation. Mr. Strzok has been described as “a key player in the investigation into [Hillary] Clinton’s use of a private email server to do government work as secretary of state.” Ms. Page reportedly “was a regular participant when Comey would hold ‘skinny group’ meetings on the case—a small collection of advisers who gathered to address sensitive cases.” Additionally, Mr. Strzok reportedly was one of two FBI agents who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The communications between members of the Clinton email investigation team raise questions about the integrity of that investigation, and about the objectivity of Mr. Strzok’s work for the Special Counsel and in the FBI’s investigation of Mr. Flynn.
The Committee has previously written to Mr. Strzok requesting an interview to discuss his knowledge of improper political influence or bias in Justice Department or FBI activities during either the previous or current administration, the removal of James Comey from his position as Director of the FBI, the DOJ’s and FBI’s activities related to Hillary Clinton, the DOJ’s and FBI’s activities related to Donald J. Trump and his associates, and the DOJ’s and FBI’s activities related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. To date, the Committee has received no letter in reply to that request. In advance of Mr. Strzok’s interview, please provide the following communications, in the form of text messages or otherwise, to the Committee no later than December 11, 2017:
1. All communications sent to, received by, or copying Mr. Strzok related to then-Director Comey’s draft or final statement closing the Clinton investigation, including all records related to the change in the portion of the draft language describing Secretary Clinton’s and her associates’ conduct regarding classified information from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless”;
2. All communications sent to, received by, or copying Mr. Strzok regarding the decision to close the Clinton investigation without recommending any charges;
3. All communications sent to, received by, or copying Mr. Strzok related to opening the investigation into potential collusion by the Trump campaign with the Russian government, including any FBI electronic communication (EC) authored or authorized by Mr. Strzok and all records forming the basis for that EC;
4. All communications sent to, received by, or copying Mr. Strzok related to the FBI’s interactions with Christopher Steele relating to the investigation into potential collusion by the Trump campaign with the Russian government; including any communications regarding potential or realized financial arrangements with Mr. Steele;
5. All communications sent to, received by, or copying Mr. Strzok related to any instance of the FBI relying on, or referring to, information in Mr. Steele’s memoranda in the course of seeking any FISA warrants, other search warrants, or any other judicial process;
6. All FD-302s of FBI interviews of Lt. Gen. Flynn at which Mr. Strzok was present, as well as all related 1A documents (including any contemporaneous handwritten notes);
7. All communications sent to, received by, or copying Mr. Strzok containing unfavorable statements about Donald Trump or favorable statements about Hillary Clinton, including text messages.
If you have questions, please contact Patrick Davis of my committee staff at (202) 224-5225. Thank you for your cooperation.
Charles E. Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary
The House intelligence committee has gotten their wish after a contempt of Congress was drawn up asking for top FBI and Justice Department officials to turn over documents the committee subpoenaed in late August. The committee wants to know why the FBI removed anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok but were never told about it.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will now testify before the House Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing.
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify before the House Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing.
In his capacity as Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Rosenstein advises and assists Attorney General Jeff Sessions in formulating and implementing policies and programs and in providing overall supervision and direction to all components of the Justice Department. Because Attorney General Sessions recused himself, Mr. Rosenstein also has direct oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Recent media reports have raised serious concerns about the political motives of staff assigned to the special counsel’s investigative team. One staff member, Peter Strzok – who also allegedly influenced former FBI Director Comey’s decision to characterize former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server as “extremely careless” instead of “grossly negligent” – has been fired from the special counsel’s team for sending anti-Trump texts. Another prosecutor on the team, Andrew Weissman, praised a former DOJ official for refusing to defend President Trump’s temporary travel moratorium.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below in advance of this hearing and on recent reports about staff controversies in the special counsel’s investigation.
Chairman Goodlatte: “I am very troubled by the recent controversy surrounding staff assigned to the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. For example, one investigator allegedly has been removed from the special counsel’s team for sending anti-Trump texts. He is also believed to have played a key role in the Clinton investigation, which allowed her and her associates to go unpunished for their use of a private email server to send and receive classified information. Another prosecutor, who remains on the special counsel’s team, has expressed views opposing President Trump’s agenda.
“Next week, Members of the House Judiciary Committee will have the opportunity to ask Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein about these developments since he is tasked with overseeing the special counsel’s investigation. We look forward to hearing from Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein on the many issues facing the Justice Department and on answers to the many questions Members have regarding issues before the Department.”