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Top Agent Said F.B.I. Would Stop Trump From Becoming President

WASHINGTON — New texts released Thursday by the Justice Department’s inspector general show that the F.B.I. agent overseeing the investigation into President Trump’s campaign pledged to stop Mr. Trump from becoming president.

“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right?” asked a top F.B.I. lawyer, Lisa Page, in one text. “Right?!”

Peter Strzok, the agent overseeing the F.B.I.’s investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia, answered, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

The exchange, in August 2016, came shortly after the investigation into Russian tampering with the election began.

The Justice Department inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, said that the texts raise significant questions about the F.B.I.’s credibility during a politically delicate investigation, but he said that he found no evidence that the agents’ political views affected the inquiry.

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump’s allies seized on the texts to further their contention that a “Deep State” embedded in the federal government had started the investigation into links between the president’s campaign and Russia to take him down.

“The report shows how the F.B.I. became infected with politics and continuously disregarded rules and procedures to the detriment of Donald Trump and benefit of Hillary Clinton,” said Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California.

Along with overseeing the Trump investigation, Mr. Strzok had been the lead agent on the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email account. The texts were included in the report by the Justice Department’s inspector general into how the F.B.I. handled the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email account during the election. The report said that many of the texts that expressed political views were related to the investigation of Mr. Trump, not of Mrs. Clinton.

“The implication in some of these text messages,” Mr. Horowitz wrote, “was that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”

But, he concluded, the inspector general’s office “found no evidence in emails, text messages, instant messages, or documents that suggested an improper purpose” in the direction that Mr. Strzok took the investigation.

Mr. Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, said that Mr. Horowitz’s conclusion about whether Mr. Strzok may have had political bias was “critically flawed” and “bizarre.”

Mr. Goelman said that while pundits and politicians had used Mr. Strzok as a way to advance their political agenda, “the truth about Special Agent Strzok’s character and professionalism is found in the fact that every witness asked by” the inspector general’s office “said that Strzok’s work was never influenced by



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