The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed a top investigator amid allegations that he had sent text messages appearing critical of President Donald Trump, the office confirmed to The New York Times on Saturday.
Mueller's office removed Strzok after the Department of Justice inspector general discovered text messages he had exchanged about news events that could be considered anti-Trump, according to the Times and The Washington Post.
Days later, then-FBI Director James Comey announced that he would not be recommending charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information on her private email server.
The people discussing the matter did not further describe the political messages between Strzok and Page, except to say the two would sometime react to campaign news of the moment.
"Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the special counsel's office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation", the office told the Times.
The precise content of Strzok's text messages is unknown, and it remains unclear whether Horowitz will make them public.
The agent, Peter Strzok, is considered one of the most experienced and trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators.
Strzok's attorney refused to comment on the publication.
He was the FBI's lead investigator on the Clinton email investigation, so much so that he interviewed the former secretary of state on July 2, 2016. "Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!" A spokeswoman at the Justice Department said "we are aware of the allegation and taking any and all appropriate steps".
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. Mueller has been looking into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election since May.
The House committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, responded in a statement that the Department of Justice inspector general is "properly investigating the handling of the investigation, including the current allegation of bias" by Strzok.
However, the President later backed down.