Two ex-FBI officials who traded anti-Trump texts close to settlement over alleged privacy violations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two former FBI officials have reached a tentative settlement with the Justice Department to resolve claims that their privacy was violated when the department leaked to the news media text messages they had sent one another that disparaged former President Donald Trump.

The tentative deal was disclosed in a brief court filing Tuesday that did not reveal any of the terms.

Peter Strzok, a former top FBI counterintelligence agent who helped lead the bureau's investigation into potential ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, was fired in 2018 after the anti-Trump text messages came to light. Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer, voluntarily resigned that same year.

They alleged in a federal lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia that the Justice Department infringed on their privacy rights when officials, in December 2017, shared copies of their communication — including messages that described Trump as an “idiot' and a ”loathsome human" — with reporters.

Strzok also sued the department over his termination, alleging that the FBI caved to “unrelenting pressure” from Trump when it fired him and that his First Amendment rights were violated. Those constitutional claims have not been resolved by the tentative settlement, according to the court notice.

Lawyers for Strzok and Page declined to comment Tuesday night, and the Justice Department did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Eric Tucker, The Associated Press