News & Politics

Sen. Grassley Turns Up Heat on FBI to 'Cough Up' Strzok Documents

Sen. Chuck Grassley (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is demanding that the FBI turn over documents relating to the activities of Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team last July after he became a political liability.

Strzok was demoted to human resources after the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered he had exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Clinton text messages with his paramour, an FBI lawyer who also worked for Mueller. Lisa Page, the lawyer with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair, reportedly remained on Mueller’s team for nearly two months after Strzok was reassigned.

Before joining Mueller’s Russia probe, Strzok led the Clinton email investigation and helped to “draft her exoneration months in advance of her July 2, 2016, interview, which he personally supervised,” according to the New York Post.“He was the agent responsible for softening language then-FBI Director James Comey used in his July 5, 2016, statement clearing Clinton just ahead of the Democratic convention. He changed the rough draft of Comey’s announcement describing Clinton’s behavior as ‘grossly negligent’ (a possible crime) to ‘extremely careless.'”

Strzok is also the agent who interrogated then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House just days after Flynn took office.

The FBI, shockingly enough, has not been cooperating with requests from congressional Republicans to pony up documents related to Strzok’s involvement with both cases.

It appears that Sen. Grassley is getting almost as frustrated with the FBI stonewall as House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray Wednesday he requested all text messages at issue and the related communications.

He was more pointed in his comments on Twitter, where he demanded that the DOJ release Strzok’s texts and “cough up all related docs.”

“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,” Grassley wrote in a press release Wednesday.

“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,” Grassley wrote. “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.”

Grassley says he wrote to Strzok back in October, “requesting voluntary cooperation and a private transcribed interview with the Committee.” Strzok ignored the request.

House conservatives will have a chance to press Wray about Strzok on Thursday when the FBI director appears before the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a member of the committee, said at a news conference with five other Republican lawmakers Wednesday that President Trump has had to deal with “the unprecedented bias against (him) that exists when we allow people who hate the president to participate in the investigations against him.” Gaetz added, “People who actively dislike the president were assigned to work against him.