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Peter Strzok fired from the FBI

The FBI has fired Peter Strzok, an agent who was removed from the Russia probe last year for sending text messages disparaging President Donald Trump, Strzok’s lawyer said Monday.

Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered the agent’s termination on Friday. Goelman said that the deputy director’s decision comes after the head of the office that normally handles disciplinary actions decided Strzok should instead face a demotion and 60-day suspension.

“The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts (FBI) Director (Christopher) Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters,” Goelman said in his statement.

The FBI declined to comment on Goelman’s assertions.

Strzok included his lawyer’s statement in a post on Twitter in which the former FBI agent said he was “deeply saddened” by the FBI’s decision.

“It has been an honor to serve my country and work with the fine men and women of the FBI,” Strzok wrote, including a link to a GoFundMe account intended to cover his legal costs and lost income.

Strzok played a lead role in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and was involved in the FBI’s recommendation that no criminal charges be filed against the former secretary of state. He later helped oversee the beginnings of the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and his involvement in both investigations has been seized on by Republicans as evidence of anti-Trump bias in the bureau and those investigating potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The President tweeted about the firing Monday afternoon, calling Strzok a “total fraud” and repeated his claim that there was no collusion nor that he obstructed justice.

“Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction – I just fight back!” Trump wrote, adding in another tweet, “Just fired Agent Strzok, formerly of the FBI, was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation. It was a total fraud on the American public and should be properly redone!”

Because Strzok, who is 48, was fired before his 50th birthday, he potentially stands to lose a portion of his pension benefits.

His firing was earlier reported by The Washington Post.