An FBI agent wrapped in controversy because of text messages hed written about President Trump and his role in several of the most politically contentious investigations at the bureau in recent months has been subpoenaed by Congress.
Peter Strzok, a former senior official in the FBI’s counterintelligence division, was subpoenaed Friday to appear before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees next week as part of a Congressional investigation into the Justice Department and decisions made during the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Strzok worked on the Clinton investigation and was part of Special Counsel Robert Muellers team investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election until he was removed after text messages were unearthed during an internal probe.
"(Trumps) not ever going to become president, right?" wrote Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, in a text to agent Peter Strzok just months before the presidential election. "No. No hes not," Strzok said, per a report released last week. "Well stop it."
The text messages fueled Republicans — and President Trump — who have been blasting the FBI for months about the Russian investigation, calling agents bias and the probe a political witchhunt. But the 568-page report, where the text messages were found, concluded the pairs political views hadnt "directly affected" their work.
The report also concluded former FBI Director James Comey broke protocol in his handling of the Clinton investigation into her private server but was not motivated by political bias when he cleared her of criminal wrongdoing.
The subpoena, signed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., calls for Strzok to appear on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
His lawyer, Aitan Goelman, sent a letter to Congress, telling members that Strzok would voluntarily testify. But, in Fridays announcement, the Judiciary Committee said they had "repeatedly requested to interview Mr. Strzok regarding his role in certain decisions, but he has yet to appear."
Goelman, in a statement to USA TODAY, said, "we regret that the Committee felt it necessary to issue a subpoena when we repeatedly informed them that Pete was willing to testify voluntarily."
Goodlatte has said for days he intended to subpoena Strzok. He and House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., also are using the texts as the basis to hold a hearing next week to question FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about why they didnt notify Congress about the newly revealed messages as soon as they learned about them.
"One of the lead investigators texted he would ‘stop’ Trump from becoming President," Goodlatte said, referring to Strzok. "These actions have tarnished the reputations of our nation’s top law enforcement agencies and have undermined Americans’ confidence in their justice system."