President Trump said in an interview Thursday that an FBI agent in the special counsel’s Russia probe committed “treason” by texting his lover an anti-Trump message, and he called for Republican investigators in Congress to conclude their probes swiftly.
Mr. Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who was a top investigator on the special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, committed treason with his text suggesting an “insurance policy” against a Trump victory.
“A man is tweeting to his lover that if [Democrat Hillary Clinton ] loses, we’ll essentially do the insurance policy. We’ll go to phase two and we’ll get this guy out of office,” said Mr. Trump. “This is the FBI we’re talking about—that is treason. That is a treasonous act. What he tweeted to his lover is a treasonous act.”
Aitan Goelman, an attorney for Mr. Strzok, told the Journal: “It is beyond reckless for the president of the United States to accuse Pete Strzok, a man who has devoted his entire adult life to defending this country, of treason. It should surprise no one that the president has both the facts and the law wrong.”
In an August 2016 text, Mr. Strzok wrote to a woman with whom he was having an affair: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration…that there’s no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
The “insurance policy” was an apparent reference to the FBI’s need to pursue allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mr. Strzok was the head investigator in the FBI’s probe of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. Mr. Mueller removed Mr. Strzok from his team last summer after learning that he sent texts criticizing Mr. Trump.