Peter Strzok's attorney: FBI had the 'power, but not the right' to fire anti-Trump agent

The FBI had "the power, but not the right" to fire now-former agent Peter Strzok for his anti-President Dona...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 12:39 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 12:39 PM

The FBI had "the power, but not the right" to fire now-former agent Peter Strzok for his anti-President Donald Trump texts, his attorney Aitan Goelman said Monday.

Speaking to Chris Cuomo on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Goelman said that Strzok's firing was contrary to what the FBI had told them would happen.

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"We had an agreement with the FBI's Office for Professional Responsibility (OPR), which is the main caretaker for internal discipline, that (Strzok) would get a 60-day suspension and a demotion," Goelman described. "At the last minute, that was countermanded by (FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich) and he was fired -- so yeah, we were surprised."

Countermanding such decisions "doesn't happen very often," Goelman continued, but "in this case, it is hard to reach any conclusion other than that the decision to reverse the OPR's decision was motivated at least largely by politics."

Goelman added, "We think that they had the power, but not the right to do it. ... There is a normal process that is followed for disciplining civil servants and fed employees. That process was followed here, but in form only and not in substance, and that's what our big objection is."

Strzok became known in December 2017 when reports showed special counsel Robert Mueller removed the counterintelligence expert from his team after an internal investigation revealed anti-Trump texts between him and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strzok was removed from Mueller's team some time in the summer of 2017.

Those texts were later released to the public and showed Strzok and Page engaging in anti-Trump talk throughout the end of the 2016 campaign.

Facing accusations of bias, Strzok later defended a specific text exchange during a July 2018 congressional hearing, saying it was "in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero."

Goelman announced Strzok's termination from the FBI earlier Monday, writing in a statement that "the decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts (FBI) Director (Christopher) Wray's testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters."

According to Goelman on "Cuomo Prime Time," it remains in question whether Strzok will attempt to appeal this decision.

"That's a question, does he fight, and the sub-question is how he fights," he said. "The letter from (Bowdich) said that this is the end of the road, and there are no more administrative appeals."

Goelman stressed that in spite of everything, Strzok "did want to stay. He loved the bureau, he loved his job, he was very committed to protecting the country and he was a great counterintelligence agent."

"I don't think (Strzok) would have necessarily wanted to work on the next high-profile political investigation, but in terms of going after spies from our adversaries who are undermining American national security, that's what motivated him, that's what he was good at, and that's what he wanted to continue doing," Goelman said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 256827

Reported Deaths: 5638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
Lowndes5425118
Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
Bolivar4024109
Oktibbeha397681
Panola374680
Pontotoc369855
Monroe3591105
Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
Pearl River3329103
Leflore3059107
Lincoln299386
Sunflower288271
Hancock282559
Tate274362
Alcorn267454
Itawamba265260
Pike264679
Scott250847
Prentiss248252
Yazoo247356
Tippah244450
Copiah243949
Coahoma242254
Simpson238368
Leake232966
Grenada220671
Covington215072
Marion215073
Adams207870
Wayne203232
Winston202667
George201939
Newton195044
Attala194659
Tishomingo191661
Chickasaw185744
Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
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