The FBI official who was dismissed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe was also responsible for making a significant change to former FBI Director James Comey’s description of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information, according to CNN.
The former top counterintelligence expert, identified as Peter Strzok, was caught exchanging private messages apparently disparaging President Donald Trump, calling the official’s judgment into question.
Strzok was reportedly behind a significant change in Comey’s draft statement on the Clinton investigation, CNN reported:
Electronic records show Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey's earlier draft language describing Clinton's actions as “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” the sources said.
The change might have been more significant than it appeared at first glance. Federal law concerning mishandling of classified information makes “gross negligence” a punishable offense.
Here’s what Comey ended up saying back in July 2016:
"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Trump has continued to criticize Comey in the aftermath of the Clinton investigation and the ongoing Russia probe. On Sunday, Trump vowed to bring the FBI “back to greatness.”
After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters - worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
The latest revelation is almost certain to give additional ammunition to critics of the ongoing Russia probe.