FBI Agent Peter Strzok, pictured testifying at a House Judiciary and Oversight Committees joint hearing on July 12, has been fired by the FBI. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Peter Strzok, an FBI veteran who helped investigate potential Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign, was fired by the bureau Monday, his lawyer said.
FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday, attorney Aitan Goelman said.
The termination occurred even though the FBI office that handles discipline decided that Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman added that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.
"This isn't the normal process in any way more than name," Goelman said.
Strzok was criticized for text messages he exchanged in 2016 with FBI attorney Lisa Page, critical of the election of President Donald Trump. In August 2016, within a week of the Justice Department's decision to open the Russia probe, Strzok sent messages disparaging of Trump. When Mueller learned of the emails last summer, he removed Strzok from his investigative team, and Strzok was relegated to another position.
Trump has referred to Strzok and Page as "FBI lovers" and has accused both of bringing bias into the Russia investigation, which is searching for evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow.
Strzok ultimately apologized for sending the messages, saying they merely reflected personal views that did not affect his work.
Strzok joins FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as other FBI officials who've been fired since Trump took office.