A GoFundMe page created to support the legal expenses of disgraced Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Peter Strzok has raised over $300,000 in less than 24 hours.
The GoFundMe page, created by an anonymous group calling its self "Friends of Peter Strzok," is seeking to raise $350,000 to cover Strzok's "lost income" after he was fired from the FBI, and his "hefty" and growing "legal costs." According to "Friends of Peter Strzok," all the contributions will be placed in a trust, which has yet to be created and who's management will be made public in the future.
Strzok's 22-year career in law enforcement came to end on Friday when FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered his dismissal from the agency after he came under fire for potential bias.
The agent, who led the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state and served on special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, came under fire after it was revealed he exchanged text messages showing disdain for then-candidate Trump with an FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extra-marital affair, according to a Washington Post report. The revelations of the text messages resulted in Mueller's decision to remove Strzok from his team, despite the agent's insistence that his personal views did not impact his official capacity.
"Friends of Peter Strzok" asserts the disgraced FBI agent is the victim of "highly politicized attacks" coming from the president. The group also alledges Trump "pressured" the FBI to fire Strzok.
"For the last year, Pete, his work, and his character have been the target of highly politicized attacks, including frequent slanderous statements from President Trump, who actively—and apparently successfully—pressured FBI officials to fire Pete," the organizers wrote. "We are asking you to support a man who has dedicated his life to defending America; to stand up for the freedoms on which this country was built and a government that truly serves the people by protecting all Americans, including dedicated government employees, from constantly being subjected to the whims and influence of politicians."
"Friends of Peter Strzok" claimed the collection campaign was started because the embattled agent does not "have deep pockets" and is not "politically connected" enough to properly defend himself from the Trump administration's "political attacks."
"Unlike those who typically become the focus of partisan investigations in Washington, Pete is not politically connected, he’s not a wealthy lobbyist and he’s not interested in using his notoriety for personal gain," the group wrote. "Because of this, he doesn’t have deep pockets that allow him to pay for the significant legal bills he has incurred to defend himself and the FBI against these political attacks or to easily cover the expenses incurred by his lost income."
In June, Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice, released the findings of an independent report undertaken by his office to determine if Strzok had allowed his personal political bias to compromise his official duties. After the report's release, Horowitz admitted while testifying before Congress he was not confident Strzok had remained unbiased while conducting an investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server for receiving classified State Department information.
After the release of Horowitz's report, Strzok was demoted, placed on a 60-day suspension, and escorted out of the FBI building.
On Tuesday, Strzok took to social media to thank the "everyday citizens" who reached out to express their support in response to the FBI's decision to terminate his employment.
"Stunned and humbled by the extraordinary outpouring of support already received from thousands of fellow everyday citizens taking time to fight for our country and our shared American ideals," Strzok tweeted. "Thank you."
Stunned and humbled by the extraordinary outpouring of support already received from thousands of fellow everyday citizens taking time to fight for our country and our shared American ideals. Thank you.
— Peter Strzok (@petestrzok) August 14, 2018
This is not the first time a federal employee has acted out of turn in response to the president and been financially rewarded by Trump's critics. In November, a GoFundMe page created to support Juli Briskman, a government contractor who lost her position after greeting the president's motorcade with a rude hand gesture while out cycling, raised over $100,000.