Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) said he would have fired Peter Strzok too when asked about the FBI agent's dismissal on Monday over text messages he sent disparaging then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016.
"I would have fired him, too," Swalwell said on Bloomberg News. "He has rights as an employee, and those should be exhausted, but I also believe as the brother of police officers and a former prosecutor, with the stakes this high, a presidential candidate being investigated, you can't talk that way, even if it didn't affect the investigation."
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Swalwell sits on the House Intelligence Committee and often appears on television to discuss the Russia investigation and insist there is strong evidence of "collusion" between Trump and the Russians.
Strzok, an FBI veteran, helped lead the investigations into Hillary Clinton's email server and Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the Justice Department's inspector general uncovered numerous texts he exchanged with lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he'd been having an affair, slamming Trump. Strzok was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as a result, but he insisted his personal views never affected his work.
Strzok was escorted from the FBI building in June and initially received a 60-day suspension for his actions, but Strzok's attorney Aitan Goelman said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich overruled that punishment and ordered Strzok's firing. Goelman called the firing a departure from the normal disciplinary process.
Trump hailed the decision on Twitter, suggesting it should lead to the Russia investigation being dropped entirely. Trump has frequently referred to Mueller's probe as a "witch hunt." Defenders point to the indictments and guilty pleas sustained by Mueller against several people in Trump's orbit, some on matters unrelated to the election.
Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction – I just fight back!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018
Asked if impeachment of Trump should be on the table if Democrats win the House in 2018, Swalwell said they should lead with issues voters care about like health care and increasing wages.
"We shouldn't look the other way if the president has conducted himself in a way that is impeachable," he said. "I think he's committed obstruction of justice in plain sight, but I think to go that route, we need to conduct the investigations that Republicans have been unwilling to do and put forward an impenetrable case to the American people … Right now, I think we just want to impeach the Republican ideas at the ballot box this midterm."