WASHINGTON - Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence agent who sent anti-Trump text messages to his mistress while taking part in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, was fired on Friday.
Strzok's attorney, Aitan Goelman, said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered the firing after an internal disciplinary review.
Goelman is criticizing the move, noting that the head of the FBI office that usually handles these matters had originally decided Strzok should face no more than a demotion and 60-day suspension.
"The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical bureau practice, but also contradicts Director Wray's testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters," Goelman said.
Strzok, a 22-year veteran of the bureau, responded to his firing on Twitter by saying he was "deeply saddened" by the decision.
"It has been an honor to serve my country and work with the fine men and women of the FBI," he added.
— Peter Strzok (@petestrzok) August 13, 2018
Strzok also linked to a GoFundMe to pay for his "hefty – and growing – legal costs and his lost income."
Strzok played a major role in the investigations of Hillary Clinton's email use and the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia.
Just fired Agent Strzok, formerly of the FBI, was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation. It was a total fraud on the American public and should be properly redone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018
He made headlines when it was revealed he sent text messages to his work colleague and mistress, Lisa Page, vowing to stop President Donald Trump from winning the 2016 election.
Strzok recently appeared before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees where he was grilled by lawmakers about his anti-Trump bias.
Rep. Ron DeSantis praised the move to fire Strzok saying, "The firing of anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok is welcome, if overdue. By exhibiting such rampant bias, Strzok did enormous damage to the FBI and to the country."
The firing of anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok is welcome, if overdue. By exhibiting such rampant bias, Strzok did enormous damage to the FBI and to the country.
— Ron DeSantis (@RepDeSantis) August 13, 2018
A Department of Justice inspector general report found that Strzok's text messages about preventing Trump from winning the election did not affect the agency's ability to investigate Trump properly. But critics like Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) strongly disagree.