GOP reps threaten maligned Federal Bureau of Investigation agent with contempt in House hearing

Glen Norman
July 13, 2018

Sparks went flyingtoday between members of the House Judiciary Committee and disgraced former FBI Agent Peter Strzok.

Embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok faced off with House Republicans Thursday at a fiery and raucous hearing where he forcefully defended his actions in the Hillary Clinton email and Russian Federation investigations amid sharp attacks over the anti-Trump text messages he sent. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte asked the audience to imagine being investigated by an agent who "hated you" and "disparaged you in all manner of ways".

"Lisa Page has finally agreed to appear before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees for a transcribed interview tomorrow", Goodlatte said in a statement.

"This decision is long overdue", Goodlatte said.

Thursday's hearing, which was the first public appearance Strzok has made since he became a central figure in the Russian Federation investigation, underscored the deep tensions on Capitol Hill over the FBI's investigations connected to the 2016 election.

Page first came to lawmakers' attention over anti-Trump text messages she exchanged with Strzok, with whom she was having an affair.


Trump's supporters in Congress have accused Strzok and Page of steering the Clinton probe away from criminal charges and pushing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to aggressively investigate Trump advisers through electronic surveillance and confidential informants.

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. "Together with her lover, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, she worked on the Rigged Witch Hunt, perhaps the most tainted and corrupt case EVER!" He said the texts reflected purely personal opinions that he never once acted on, though he did acknowledge being dismayed during the campaign by the Republican candidate's behavior. Because the facts, here on Planet Earth, show that they did what they were supposed to do: They began an investigation into this profound threat to American democracy, but kept quiet about it so it wouldn't affect the election.

Strzok repeatedly refused to answer, citing the FBI's counsel's instructions not to answer questions related to the special counsel investigation.

While the hearing is still ongoing at the time of publishing, we've provided four key moments from the hearing which summarize some of the back and forth between Representatives of Congress and Mr. Strzok.

And though Strzok clearly despised Trump, a recent thorough report from the Justice Department inspector general found no evidence that this bias affected any investigation or the election (and, of course, Trump won).

Although Strzok has said through his lawyer that he was eager to tell his side of the story, he makes clear his exasperation at being the focal point of a congressional hearing at a time when Russian election interference has been successfully "sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions".


The texts included saying "we'll stop" Trump and also "F Trump".

"But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind", Strzok said.

Peter Strzok is about to testify. They eventually cost Strzok his place on Robert Mueller's investigative team.

When Krishnamoorthi brought up a section in the IG report about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch recalling a Comey comment about the New York FBI office's anti-Clinton sentiment, Sztrok told the lawmaker he'd have to ask Comey to explain those comments.

The sharp tone of Strzok's statement sets the stage for a contentious hearing following hours of closed-door questioning last week.


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