Settlement Reached with Former FBI Employees in Anti-Trump Scandal

( – Two former FBI employees who worked on investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election have reached a settlement with the FBI after accusing the bureau of violating their privacy. Other litigation focusing on an alleged violation of First Amendment rights as well as the right to due process is still in progress.

Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who worked as an FBI attorney and an FBI agent respectively, began proceedings in 2019. The litigation centered around the FBI’s 2017 publication of text messages sent between Page and Strzok, who were at the time investigating then-president Donald Trump and his rival Hilary Clinton. Page and Strzok were engaged in an extramarital affair with each other and were found to have sent multiple text messages to each other in which they insulted Trump. They also criticized his supporters and said that Clinton should have won the 2016 election.

The FBI argued that it only showed the disparaging messages to reporters because lawmakers on Capitol Hill had seen them around the same time. According to the FBI, showing the messages to reporters prevented lawmakers from being able to take snippets of the texts out of context and use them in an inflammatory manner. Donald Trump repeatedly pointed to the couple’s exchanges as evidence that the Russia probe was conducted improperly, and often referred to Page and Strzok as the “FBI lovebirds” when speaking in public.

Details of the settlement have been kept largely under wraps, although it is reported to have settled Page’s lawsuit in full. Page, who resigned once the messages were made public, initially requested at least $1000 in damages. She also requested compensation for childcare costs incurred by her need to speak in front of Congress and meet with investigators. Strzok’s additional case is ongoing. Strzok was fired after it was decided that his messages showed political bias. He contends that this is a violation of his right to free speech and due process. He also claims that his firing was political and was driven by the then-president’s anger towards him.

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