Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and other committee Republicans, after considering such action for several weeks, made a decision to move after media including the New York Times reported Saturday on why a top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russia-Trump election collusion had been removed from the investigation.
Mueller is overseeing the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of the Hillary Clinton email server as the No. 2 official in the FBI's counterintelligence division, left the Mueller team this past summer, multiple sources said.
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Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was assigned to the Mueller investigation, received the messages.
It is still not known what Strzok mentioned in the text messages.
"Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel's Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation", Special Counsel's Office spokesperson Peter Carr told BuzzFeed News. Although Strzok's departure from the investigation was reported by ABC News in August, the reason behind the move was unclear until now.
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"The DOJ has now expressed - on a Saturday, just hours after the press reports on Strzok's dismissal appeared - sudden willingness to comply with some of the Committee's long-standing demands", Nunes said.
Defenders of Strzok and Page inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that because there was no direct supervisory role between Page and Strzok in the workplace, there wasn't anything professionally wrong about having an affair, but added they understood why Mueller would not want anyone engaged in such conduct on his team. Trump has called the probe a "witch hunt", while Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the accusation is the result of Clinton's supporters not wanting to admit the Democratic candidate has only herself to blame for losing the election.
Strzok was reportedly reassigned to a job in the FBI's human resources department following the discovery of the alleged texts.
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The inquiry into Mr. Strzok is being conducted by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, who is leading a broad examination of how the F.B.I. handled the Clinton email investigation.