Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Rep. Goodlatte: Lisa Page 'finally' to testify before House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Goodlatte: Lisa Page 'finally' to testify before House Judiciary Committee

Though Strzok dodged the questions, Gowdy pointed out that Strzok had discussed the impeachment of Trump on the first week of his tenure on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

In a chaotic hearing that spanned 10 hours, he insisted he never allowed personal opinions to affect his work, though he did acknowledge being dismayed by Donald Trump's behavior during the campaign.

Representatives Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) zeroed in on the content of texts and emails between Strzok and Page, including the August 2016 exchange in which Page seeks reassurance Trump is "not ever going to become president, right?"

Peter Strzok (struhk) testified publicly Tuesday for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team following the discovery of the texts past year.

Republicans have seized on Strzok and Page's tens of thousands of text messages over 2015-2017 - when both were involved in the Russian Federation investigation - as proof that the FBI is too riddled with bias to fairly investigate Trump.

After Mr Strzok said he'd appreciate the chance to explain, the chair of the House Government Oversight Committee shot back: "I don't give a damn what you appreciate, agent Strzok".

To recap, Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation and harshly criticized by an inspector general.

"Would anyone sitting here today believe that this was an acceptable state of affairs, particularly at an agency whose motto is "Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity"?" "I thought it was awful".

Norm Ornstein, a scholar at the centrist American Enterprise Institute, said the Republicans at the hearing showed no "notion of seeing Russian Federation as an adversary" and they were "all trying to do what Donald Trump wants them to do".

And he decried alleged Russian interference in US elections, describing the hearing - which Strzok himself had sought in an effort to clear his name - as "just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart". At one point, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California chimed in, saying, "This is a stupid and ridiculous hearing".

"Several Republicans, including Louie Gohmert, I will say, went way overboard, it felt like a public lynching", Perino continued on. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) accused Gohmert of harassing the witness.

Mr Strzok, a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent who has spent much of his career hunting down Russian spies in the USA, was dismissed by Mr Mueller last summer after he learned of the messages, which included disparaging comments about then-candidate Trump and his supporters (as well as Obama Justice Department officials and other Democratic and Republican politicians). He said the late-night, off-the-cuff text reflected his belief that Americans would not stomach such "horrible, disgusting behavior" by the presidential candidate.

"But let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took". So I take great offense. "We'll stop it", Strzok told her.

"I don't recall and I'd have to check the case file", Strzok replied. "It simply couldn't happen".

Democrats threw their support behind Strzok with gusto. While Republicans badgered Strzok and tried to catch him off-guard, Democrats mostly used their time to argue for the importance of the Mueller investigation.

Appearing before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, Strzok sought to explain his anti-Trump text messages at a time when he was the lead agent on the FBI's then-nascent Russian Federation investigation in 2016.

Strzok said he was embarrassed by the texts, but that they did not represent his or the FBI's work ethic. Gohmert speculated about whether he looked "so innocent" when he looked into his wife's eyes and lied about the affair.

Gowdy responded by calling on Watson Coleman to question Strzok.

So at one point early in the hearing, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said he meant to release the transcript himself - and asked whether there was any reason he couldn't.

Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was "blunt", it was not directed at one person or political party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen. But, he said, "the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind". "That is who we are as the Federal Bureau of Investigation". Horowitz issued a report last month showing that though Strzok's bias cast a cloud over the email investigation, there was no evidence that the bias impacted Strzok's investigative decisions.

Like this: