Just a few months ago, Special Counsel leader, Robert Mueller, fired Peter Strzok, after learning that he sent anti-Trump tweets during the President’s campaign. Republican leaders are calling the tweets a clear sign of bias on behalf of the FBI, suggesting they are an indication that the Special Counsel has been compromised and should be dissolved. Despite the fact that Mueller removed Strzok shortly after the tweets, some Republican leaders still believe his bias may have influenced his involvement with the case – and may have influenced other Counsel members, too. Civil rights activists and Democratic leaders suggest that the tweets were little more than personal opinion, something that all civil servants are permitted to hold irrespective of their line of work.
- Civil servants are permitted to hold private opinions, but those private opinions may not influence their work – especially in intelligence. If Republican leaders can prove that Strzok’s decision-making was influenced by his personal opinions, they may have a case.
- Some leaders have pointed out that, if Strzok was biased, it would have influenced both Trump’s elections and the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. Strzok was involved with both cases at various points in time. It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how his involvement impacted the case positively, negatively, or even at all.
- It is illegal to prevent a civil servant from expressing their political opinions under the Hatch Act. The same act only prevents servants from engaging in political activism – e.g., officially advocating for or lobbying against a specific party member. This clause does not prevent a Counsel member from sharing their opinions on social media.
- There is also evidence that Strzok tweeted his displeasure with the President to several colleagues and friends.
- Many naysayers are suggesting that Strzok’s involvement with the Flynn investigation and interview may be suspicious. However, Flynn himself fully admitted to lying – something supported by hard evidence and interviewer reports alike. This is likely a case where correlation doesn’t equal causation.
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Do you find that it is possible and/or responsible to keep personal opinions from influencing professional behavior in any way? How do you support that opinion?