Inspector general refers five FBI employees for investigation over ‘hostile’ political messages

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The Justice Department inspector general referred five FBI employees for investigation into whether their politically-charged and “hostile” text messages and instant messages violated FBI code, according to the damning inspector general report released Thursday.

The report, titled “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election,” revealed that the messages “appeared to mix political opinion with discussions about the MYE investigation. MYE, or ‘Midyear Exam,’ was the code word used in the FBI to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

“Some of these text messages and instant messages mixed political commentary with discussions about the Midyear investigation, and raised concerns that political bias may have impacted investigative decisions,” the report read.

The report noted that it was specifically concerned about text messages exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.”

“The FBI accepts that text messages exchanged over FBI-issued devices by certain FBI employees, primarily Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a lack of professionalism,” the report read.

Strzok and Page were romantically involved, and both served for a short period of time on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian interference and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 election. Page was on brief detail in the summer of 2017 with the special counsel, and Strzok was reassigned when the revelations of his anti-Trump texts were revealed.

Page resigned from her post in the office of special counsel at the FBI last month.

The report did not, however, find evidence connecting those political opinions held by FBI officials to decisions made in the Clinton investigation.

“There were clearly tensions and disagreements in a number of important areas between Midyear agents and prosecutors. However, we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions…,” the report read. “Nonetheless, these messages cast a cloud over the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation and the investigation’s credibility.”

Futher, the OIG said that while it found no evidence the views influenced investigative decisions, “five employees” have been referred for investigation into whether the messages violated FBI code.

“The FBI will handle these referrals pursuant to the FBI’s disciplinary investigation and adjudication processes, and will impose disciplinary measures as warranted,” the report read.

It is unclear which five FBI employees have been referred for investigation.

An FBI spokesperson told Fox News Thursday they were not able to comment on the names of the five employees referred for investigation.

Also revealed in the report was a new text conversation between Strzok and Page from August 2016. Page texted Strzok that they would “stop” Donald Trump from becoming president.

“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok.

“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.

Those texts “caused [the OIG] to question the earlier Midyear investigative decisions in which he was involved, and whether he took specific actions in the Midyear investigation based on his political views,” the report read.

In a statement to Fox News, Strzok’s attorney Aitan Goelman defended Strzok’s work at the FBI.

“After a year-long investigation that included a review of millions of communications and interviews of scores of witnesses, the IG concluded that there is no evidence that the political views of Special Agent Strzok and others in the FBI impacted the handling of the Clinton email investigation,” Goelman said in a statement “As the Report notes, Special Agent Strzok in particular was consistently thorough and aggressive, sometimes to the point that put him at odds with senior officials at the Department of Justice.”

Goelman added: “”While pundits and politicians are using this matter to advance their agendas, the truth about Special Agent Strzok’s character and professionalism is found in the fact that every witness asked by the OIG said that Strzok’s work was never influenced by political views. His dedication to unbiased service is a fact that would be universally echoed by the thousands of people who have worked with Pete during his 26 years of service in the FBI and U.S. Army.”

The report also reveals that one FBI attorney assigned to the special counsel’s team was found to have sent politically charged FBINet instant messages to other FBI officials.

That FBI employee sent messages such as: “As I have initiated the destruction of the republic…Would you be so kind as to have a coffee with me this afternoon?”

Another instant message read: “I’m clinging to small pockets of happiness in the dark time of the Republic’s destruction.”

The report did not reveal this FBI official’s name, but did state that the official worked on both the Clinton email investigation and the Russia probe.

The FBI official left the special counsel’s team in February of this year, following revelations of his politically charged messages.

The special counsel’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the investigator who left the team in February.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.