Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

FBI agent defiant as Republicans claim bias in Trump investigation

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok to lawmakers: Anti-Trump texts didn’t “impact any official action” FBI Agent Peter Strzok Scorches GOP in Testimony Fit For Aaron Sorkin Script
Melinda Barton | 14 July, 2018, 13:54

On Thursday, Strzok testified publicly over a 10-hour span, during which Republicans and Democrats got into several shouting matches, including one particularly explosive moment after Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, asked Strzok did he look into his "wife's eye and lie to her about Lisa Page".

Strzok was testifying before a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, where he defended himself against claims he allowed his personal biases to affect his investigation into alleged ties between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation.

But in defending himself and his agency, Strzok had to weather hours of attacks by Republicans, whose accusations drifted from personal animus toward President Donald Trump to blatant lying and moral misconduct with a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer, Lisa Page. "But we did not see the smart answers from Lisa Page that we saw from Peter Strzok".

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee said he would give Strzok a Purple Heart if he could. Last year, he was reassigned from Mueller's team after the compromising texts emerged.

"I don't appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations during 2016", Gowdy said.

"I've talked to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents around the country".

Strzok said some of his messages featured normal conversational "hyperbole", which Gowdy said was "inappropriate" for someone who is supposed to be "dispassionately, neutrally investigating" the subject of those texts. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation was here providing counsel and giving her direction about which questions to answer or not answer.

Goodlatte disagreed and took issue with Strzok refusing to answer question about the 2016 presidential election and his work on the Special Counsel.

"This information had the potential to derail and quite possibly defeat Mr. Trump, but the thought of expressing that, or exposing that information never crossed my mind", Efe quoted Mr Strzok as telling to lawmakers during a congressional hearing.

"I don't believe I did", Strzok replied.

"It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate", he said.

"She's an irrelevant actor in a sideshow", Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, said of Page.

FBI Director Chris Wray has said employees who were singled out for criticism by the inspector general have been referred to internal disciplinary officials.

Her lawyer said Page had offered to voluntarily appear before the committees later this month but needed more clarification about what the lawmakers would be asking.