09:57 GMT +325 April 2018
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    Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI)

    Justice Dept Under Fire by Democrats Over Release of Anti-Trump FBI Messages

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    Newly revealed salacious texts that targeted Trump have called into question the impartiality of the so-called "Russia probe."

    This Wednesday, Democrat members of the US House Committee on the Judiciary pushed Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to explain the reasoning behind the release of text messages between two members of Robert Mueller's team.

    Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler called for the full review of the DOJ's decision to authorize the release of some 375 messages that were exchanged by FBI officers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were assigned to the Special Counsel's investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

    The two officers, who supposedly had an extramarital affair, demeaned US President Donald Trump, calling him an "idiot" as well as expressing their support for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    Nadler grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the early release of documents that were supposed to form part of the larger Investigator-General's investigation into the allegations of misconduct within the FBI during the 2016 Presidential campaign that is due to be published in April, calling the premature disclosure an "unusual move."

    READ MORE: 'De-Legitimization Campaign'? Mueller's Probe Attacked by Trump Supporters

    Rosenstein replied that the Department released the messages due to the repeated requests from Congress itself and only after consulting with the IG's office and obtaining permission.

    "Generally speaking, our goal is to be as forthcoming with the media as we can, when it is lawful and appropriate to do so," Rosenstein stated.

     "So I would not approve anybody disclosing something that was not appropriate to disclose."

    DOJ Public Affairs Director Sarah Isgur Flores also confirmed that Inspector-General Michael Horowitz was indeed consulted on the matter and "determined that he had no objection to the department's providing the material to the congressional committees that had requested it."

    The Justice Department also consulted its senior ethics specialists, who "determined that there were no legal or ethical concerns, including under the Privacy Act, that prohibited the release of the information to the public either by members of Congress or by the department."

    The release of the messages led to the transfer of Strzok from Robert Mueller's team to the FBI's human resources department. Page had completed her assignment before the release of the messages.

    The exchange between two senior FBI officers suggested a strong anti-Trump bias that may have compromised the integrity of the Special Counsel's probe.

    READ MORE: Mueller Reassigned Top FBI Agent From Russia 'Witch Hunt' Probe — Reports

    Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Robert Goodlatte highlighted the importance of political impartiality to the credibility of the DOJ's investigation that must not susceptible to bias, especially through the career law enforcement officers.

    "Department of Justice investigations must not be tainted by individuals imposing their own political prejudices," Goodlatte said.

    Strzok previously led an investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of private emails that largely cleared her from blame.

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    Tags:
    text messages, Affair, investigation, bias, report, review, release, text, House Judiciary Committee, US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Sarah Isgur Flores, Jerrold Nadler, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, Peter Strzok, United States
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