Mueller reportedly taps FBI utility player to replace agent ousted from Russia probe

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who jettisoned a senior FBI agent from his team over a flurry of anti-Trump text messages, reportedly has added to his ranks an agency veteran who oversaw the launch of the Hillary Clinton federal email probe.

Agent David Archey – called a FBI utility player by some colleagues  – joined Mueller's team this summer, sources with knowledge of the matter told ABC News.

“Whether they are elected or appointed, public officials are servants of the public's interest."

- Agent David Archey, in connection with an Alabama inquiry

Some in FBI circles believe he was a replacement for Peter Strzok, whom Mueller had brought in to help manage the investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. Strzok has since been ousted from the team amid evidence he'd swapped anti-Trump emails with a colleague, an action that raised many doubts about the objectivity of an investigation looking so closely at the Trump campaign. 

The allegations led to Strzok's removal from the inquiry, and prompted the president to tweet that the FBI's "reputation is in tatters.”

Peter_Strzok

Peter Strzok

At the time of Strzok’s departure, Archey was acting head of the FBI’s field office in Birmingham, Alabama, ABC News said.

Archey is “very seasoned and smart,” one source who’s worked
alongside Archey told the news organization. He also has a low-key public profile, and has filled vacancies within his own agency before.

In 2015, he was acting deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in Washington. ABC News said that according to documents released by the FBI, he was one of a small group of senior officials who approved the launch of the FBI’s criminal probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

“Whether they are elected or appointed, public officials are
servants of the public's interest,” Archey said in a press release, involving an embezzlement case unrelated to Clinton, during his time in Alabama, according to AL.com. “While the vast majority of public officials are honest, those who are not should know that there is no acceptable level of corruption, and my office is dedicated to rooting out corruption at every level.”

During a congressional hearing this week, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray about Strzok and questioned whether Mueller’s investigators could still be fair and impartial.

“At the very least, the FBI’s reputation as an impartial nonpolitical agency has been called into question recently,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the Republican committee chair, said in the hearing, according to a Newsweek report.

Wray defended his agency, Newsweek said: “The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of brave men and women who are working as hard as they can to keep people that they will never know safe from harm.”