Hearing a 'victory notch in Putin's belt': Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in Russian Federation probe

Clay Curtis
July 13, 2018

This argument would nearly certainly fall apart before a judge, given the fact that the FBI Inspector General found no evidence that Peter Strzok's "political bias" affected the outcome of either the FBI's investigation into candidate Donald Trump or their investigation into candidate Hillary Clinton.

"At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took", Strzok said.

Republican members of the House judiciary and oversight committees grilled Strzok as they argued that text messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page colored the outcome of the Clinton investigation and undercut the ongoing Russian Federation probe.

Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanGOP lawmaker asks Federal Bureau of Investigation agent about lying to wife over affair Live coverage: Federal Bureau of Investigation agent defends anti-Trump texts in tense hearing Amazon adopts National Football League rule to boost diversity on its board MORE (D-N.J.) hollered at Gohmert.

Strzok angrily responded, saying the "we'll stop it" text came in response to campaign occurrences such as Trump insulting the immigrant father of a fallen USA soldier.

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".

At one point, Representative Louis Gohmert, a Texas Republican, invoked Strzok's personal life by alluding to the fact the texts were exchanged while he and Page were having an affair.

On Thursday night, Stephen Colbert had some fun at the expense of congressional lawmakers over the marathon hearing of FBI Agent Peter Strzok. He told Gohmert the fact that he would say that to him "shows more what you stand for" than anything else.

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Gowdy sparred with Strzok in a combative line of questioning that led to an extended argument between leaders of the committee during the public hearing. He also said he had never contemplated leaking damaging information he knew about the Trump campaign.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob W. Goodlatte (R-Va.) cocked an eye at Strzok's claim of neutrality in the probes of Hillary Clinton's emails and the Trump campaign. He told lawmakers the texts in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election reflected personal views that he had never acted on, angrily rejecting Republican allegations that he had set out to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

Goodlatte said he was holding open the prospect of calling Strzok back again because he was unsatisfied with the lack of answers to some questions.

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.

Strzok argued that Mueller did not remove him from his team because of bias, but because of the perception the texts created.

Democrats, however, agreed with the sentiment expressed by their colleague, California congressman Ted Lieu: "Let me start by saying, this is a stupid and ridiculous hearing". "But", he said, "the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind".

That meant Justice Department investigators could access all their messages, including the ones in which they criticized Trump and appeared to discuss how they might use their powers to keep him from being elected.

FBI Director Chris Wray says employees who were singled out for criticism in the report have been referred to internal disciplinary officials.

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