Department of Justice Rejects Accusations of Wrongdoing in Release of FBI Agent’s Texts

The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Justice Department’s spokeswoman Sarah Flores on Thursday, asking her how texts messages exchanged between two FBI officials were obtained by the media.

The text messages from Peter Strzok, a once top FBI counterintelligence official, contained offensive language directed toward then-candidate Donald Trump. Strzok calls Trump “an idiot” and “a loathsome human.”

The agent served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, before being removed following the discovery of the texts he sent to FBI lawyer Lisa Page. He also led the FBI’s investigation into Hilary Clinton’s use of a private email server, which prompted Republicans to claim that the probe was biased and tainted by political opinion.

In the letter, committee members ask Flores for “further clarification about this unusual move,” as well as to identify “who at the Department of Justice approved your decision to invite the press to view these text messages.”

Flores rejected the accusations that the DOJ had done anything improper as members of Congress were the first to gain access the texts, before any “member of the media was given access to view the same copy of the texts.” Flores went on to explain that the deputy attorney general consulted with the inspector general regarding Congressional committees’ requests for the materials.

“After that consultation, senior career ethics advisers determined that there were no legal or ethical concerns, including under the Privacy Act, that prohibited the release of the information to the public either by members of Congress or by the Department,” she added.

Representatives Jerry Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries, who penned the letter, also wrote to DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz to ask if the department consulted with his office before the release of the messages, CNN reports.

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