Peter Strzok is a former United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent. Strzok was the Chief of the Counterespionage Section and led the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.
Strzok led a team of a dozen investigators during the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server and assisted in the drafting of public statements for then-FBI Director James Comey. He changed the description of Clinton’s actions from “grossly negligent”, which could be a criminal offense, to “extremely careless”. The draft was reviewed and corrected by several people and its creation was a team process. In his statement to Congress, Comey said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges based on available evidence. Later, when additional emails were discovered a few days before the election, Strzok supported reopening the Clinton investigation. He then co-wrote the letter that Comey used to inform Congress, which “reignited the email controversy in the final days” and “played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
In June and July 2017, Strzok worked on Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into any links or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government. Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia investigation when Mueller became aware of criticisms of Trump contained in personal text messages exchanged between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended Mueller’s response to the text messages.
On August 10, 2018, David Bowdich, the FBI deputy director, fired Strzok for the anti-Trump text messages. On August 6, 2019, Strzok filed a wrongful termination suit against the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, asking to be reinstated and awarded back pay. He asserted in the suit that his text messages were “protected political speech,” and that his termination violated the First Amendment. In December 2019, a report by the Justice Department inspector general found that Strzok was not motivated by bias in his work on the FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
In September 2020, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published Strzok’s book, Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump.