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FBI agent defiant as Republicans claim bias in Trump investigation

13 July 2018

A joint House hearing to question an FBI agent who worked on investigations involving both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton quickly devolved into chaos as Republicans demanded he answer questions about the Russian Federation investigation.

The partisan bickering and speeches disguised as questions brought little honor to either the House Oversight or Judiciary committees in Thursday's three-ring circus masquerading as a hearing.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, threatened Strzok with contempt, claiming he was under subpoena.

Republicans and Democrats shouted and swapped insults in the U.S. House of Representatives session, attended by dozens of lawmakers, as agent Peter Strzok said his personal political views had never affected his official work. "This decision is long overdue". "Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her. Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him".

"We'll stop it", Strzok texted Page in August 2016 - apparently referring to the prospect of Trump being elected president, according to a June report by the inspector general.

"If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would".

In his first public comments since private text messages between Strzok and Page were disclosed, the agent concluded opening remarks with a pointed broadside against his antagonisers. "Aw, Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous", one Democrat complained. Strzok replied: "No, he's not". He said the text, written late at night and off-the-cuff, reflected his belief that Americans would not stomach such "horrible, disgusting behaviour" by the presidential candidate.

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok testifies before the the House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform on Capitol Hill, Thursday, July 12, 2018.

In an exchange with Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC, chair of the House Oversight Committee, Strzok defended his "we'll stop" Trump text. President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. He said the FBI's Trump investigation originated not out of personal animus but rather from concern that Russia was seeking to meddle in the election, including what he said were credible allegations of a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign associate.

The President and his allies have cited the texts between Strzok and former Federal Bureau of Investigation agaent Lisa Page as evidence that Mueller's probe is biased against the President, and Trump tweeted about Strzok multiple times in the leadup to Thursday's hearing.

"I am certain that Congress will have the opportunity to look at any investigation once it is closed", he said. Last year, he was reassigned from Mueller's team after the compromising texts emerged.

Strzok said he was directed by FBI's legal counsel not to answer questions about an ongoing investigation, but Goodlatte demanded that he answer Gowdy's question, prompting a lengthy delay before Strzok asked to speak to the FBI general counsel.

Goodlatte told Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day" Thursday morning that Page had agreed to an interview Friday. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the oversight panel, had aides hold up posters of everyone who has pleaded guilty in the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

FBI agent defiant as Republicans claim bias in Trump investigation