Did Peter Strzok deserve to be fired by the FBI? | The Tylt

Did Peter Strzok deserve to be fired by the FBI?

The FBI agent at the center of a Republican-led investigation into corruption within the bureau has been fired. Peter Strzok, the 22-year veteran agent, was the focus of a congressional hearing after it was discovered he had exchanged politically-charged text messages with an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair. Strzok claimed throughout the hearing that there was "no evidence of bias in my professional actions." The FBI ultimately decided to fire Strzok, but was the decision fair?

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Republicans and members of the Trump administration have claimed Strzok's texts show a clear bias against the president and that he could not function in his position with such biases. Per the BBC:

Mr Strzok exchanged text messages that disparaged Mr Trump with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair.
In one exchange, Ms Page asks: Trump is "not ever going to become president, right? Right?!"
Mr Strzok responds: "No. No he won't. We'll stop it."
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President Trump, who has long been clear about his distaste for Strzok, celebrated his termination on Twitter.

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Bradley P. Moss, a lawyer who has "represented countless individuals (including whistleblowers) serving within the intelligence community," explained the disciplinary process usually followed by the FBI in a piece for Politico.

According to Moss, when appealing termination, employees appear before Candace M. Will, the head of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility. 

[A]ccording to a statement from Strzok’s attorney, Will chose not to uphold the proposed termination of Strzok’s employment. Instead, she concluded that it was appropriate to instead demote Strzok and suspend him for 60 days. She apparently also concluded that Strzok would be afforded what is known as a “last chance agreement,” which is effectively a written understanding between the agency and the employee that even the slightest instance of misconduct going forward can and will likely result in immediate termination. That Will reached this conclusion is very surprising and, in my professional opinion, speaks to just how thin the case for firing Strzok likely was.
That Deputy Director Bowdich chose to overrule Will is what takes this matter so far outside the ordinary practice of the FBI disciplinary process. I have never seen senior FBI leadership unilaterally and directly intervene in such a manner, whether in my client’s favor or otherwise. If Strzok had not been satisfied with Will’s determination, appealing to Deputy Director Bowdich would not even have been a formal option. His final stage of administrative appeal would have been before the Disciplinary Review Board, which is comprised of three senior FBI officials but to my knowledge does not typically (if ever) include the deputy director.

Moss concludes that while there is no legal issue with Strzok's firing, the extent to which politics played into the decision should be concerning to the American public.

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Writer Brian Klaas writes in an op-ed for the Washington Post that Strzok's firing signals a dangerous lack of separation between the Justice Department and the executive branch.

For eight months, the president of the United States has been directing an unprecedented amount of political venom and vitriol at a single FBI agent. That agent has now been fired in a manner inconsistent with the recommendation of an independent disciplinary arm of the FBI. And because of those two facts, it is impossible not to wonder whether Strzok’s firing was politically motivated, or became more likely because of Trump’s political attacks — something that Americans should never have to wonder about with law enforcement decisions.
We will likely never know whether Strzok was fired because of political calculations or pressure from the White House. It is plausible, though. But we already have clear evidence — from his calls for jailing of his opponents to his use of pardons for political allies — that Trump sees the rule of law through a purely political lens and that he is trying to bend it to his will. Whether he succeeds or not, his ongoing efforts to politicize the rule of law have already injected a dangerous toxin into America’s political bloodstream. I fear any eventual antidote will take years or decades to expel the venom.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Did Peter Strzok deserve to be fired by the FBI?
#FireStrzok
A festive crown for the winner
#ProtectStrzok