Judicial Watch Sues FBI for Records About Removal of Former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok From Mueller Operation
DECEMBER 14, 2017
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for records about the removal and reassignment of Peter Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, from the special counsel’s investigative team led by former FBI director Robert Mueller. Strzok also was the FBI’s second in command of counterintelligence and chief of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server, interviewing Hillary Clinton himself on July 2, 2016.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia after the FBI failed to respond to an August 17, 2017, FOIA request (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (No. 1:17-cv-02682)). Judicial Watch seeks:
- All records regarding the assignment of FBI Supervisor Peter Strzok to the special counsel’s investigation led by former Director Robert Mueller.
- All records related to the reassignment of FBI Supervisor Peter Strzok from the special counsel’s investigation to another position within the FBI.
- All SF-50 and/or SF-52 employment forms, as well as all related records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the FBI and any other individual or entity.
According to reports (here and here) Strzok was reportedly removed from the Mueller investigative team in August and reassigned to a human resources position after it was discovered that he and another FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, who worked for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and with whom Strzok was carrying on an extramarital affair, “exchanged text messages during the Clinton investigation and campaign season in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.”
Strzok reportedly oversaw the FBI’s interviews of former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn; changed former FBI Director James Comey’s language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her illicit email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless;” played a lead role in the FBI’s interview of Clinton and is suspected of being responsible for using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant in order to spy on President Trump’s campaign.
“It is disturbing the FBI has stonewalled our request about the Mr. Strzok demotion for four months,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “One can only conclude the FBI and Justice Department (including Mr. Mueller’s operation) wanted to hide the truth about how Strzok’s and Page’s political biases and misconduct have compromised both the Clinton email and Russia collusion investigations.”
Agent Strzok’s texts about Hillary Clinton and President Trump are responsive to another Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit, but have not yet been produced by the FBI.