Two More Senior Officials Cited in FBI Texts Resign

Two more senior government officials who were prominently discussed in text messages exchanged by FBI employees formerly assigned to the investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election and the alleged connection between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, decided to leave their positions.

One of the two officials is Mike Kortan. He is an FBI assistant director for public affairs and is set to retire next week, a spokesman for the bureau confirmed. The second official is the chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, David Laufman. The department spokesman said that Laufman resigned this week.

Both officials are discussed in text messages sent by senior FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page. Trump and many other Republicans said that the texts are evidence of anti-Trump bias at senior levels of the Justice Department and FBI, Politico reminds.

Kortan has headed the FBI’s media operation since 2009. He has told colleagues for months or longer that he was on the verge of retirement. Laufman’s resignation is more surprising. According to The Washington Post, he told colleagues he was leaving for personal reasons. Laufman had served since 2014 as the top Justice Department official overseeing espionage investigations, as well as cases involving foreign lobbying and leaks of classified information. In that way, he was also in charge of the Hillary Clinton email probe and aspects of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Strzok-Page texts suggest they held an unflattering view of Laufman and Kortan.

The list of officials frequently discussed in the texts who are no longer in their jobs includes former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump; former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe; Comey’s chief of staff, James Rybicki; FBI General Counsel James Baker; as well as Strzok, who was booted off the special counsel investigation and sent to a job in the FBI’s personnel division.

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