Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) fired off a flaming letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein demanding an explanation for statements made in several text messages sent by FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok during the 2016 presidential election.
Grassley notes Strzok played a critical role in the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business and mishandling of classified information. He also appears to have been involved in helping to launch the FBI’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election.
In his letter to Rosenstein, the senator states:
Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency …
Any improper political influence or motives in the course of any FBI investigation must be brought to light and fully addressed. Former Director Comey’s claims that the FBI “doesn’t give a rip about politics” certainly are not consistent with the evidence of discussions occurring in the Deputy Director’s office around August 15, 2016.
The text messages also discuss a separate phone that “can’t be traced”—suggesting the use of a “burner phone.” This also caught Grassley’s eye, and prompted a number of additional questions. In particular, he wants to know when and how the department became aware of the politically-charged messages, what steps are being taken to fully review the activities referenced in the messages, and whether any disciplinary measures are being considered.
The senator’s office also states he sought an interview with Strzok in October as part of the ongoing committee investigation into improper political influence of bias in the Clinton and Trump investigations. He’s now demanding access to all documents related to the agent’s work and communications inside the Justice Department and FBI following the media reports of the text messages.