Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who came under fire from the President and other Republicans for sending disparaging text messages about Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, has been sacked.
Mr Strzok is the third high-ranking agent to be fired from the FBI during the Trump administration, including former director James Comey.
During his FBI career, Mr Strzok rose to deputy assistant director, focusing on counterintelligence.
After Justice Department internal investigators found the texts, he was reassigned from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign. The firing came after a lengthy internal investigation.
Mr Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, said in a statement on Tuesday that FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich had decided to terminate his client.
The decision, Mr Goelman added, was at odds with a recommendation by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which had called for Mr Strzok to face a 60-day suspension and demotion from his supervisory responsibilities.
He also said it went against past promises from FBI Director Christopher Wray about adhering to proper processes on personnel matters.
A representative from the FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr Trump, who had previously called for Mr Strzok’s removal, took to Twitter not long after the news broke.
“Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally,” he wrote.
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
A post on a newly-created Twitter account under Mr Strzok’s name said he was “deeply saddened” by the decision to fire him.
The post also linked to a GoFundMe page, which had raised nearly $US190,000 ($260,000) toward a goal of $US350,000 to help fund legal bills and loss of income as of Tuesday afternoon (AEST).
“All funds raised on this GoFundMe will be put into a trust dedicated to covering Pete’s hefty – and growing – legal costs and his lost income,” the fund-raising website said.
Mr Goelman said that his client’s firing was politically motivated and that his texts represented political speech protected by the First Amendment.