'FBI lover' agent rejects Trump bias charges in stormy hearing

13 July, 2018, 06:38 | Author: Angel Logan
  • U.S. President Donald Trump with Attorney General Jeff Sessions

During the hearing, Republicans attacked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as Trump himself has done, at a time when Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still investigating alleged Russian interference in the election and possible collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides.

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.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who represents Trenton, Princeton and Old Bridge, interrupted Gowdy and said Strzok is the one testifying, not the former Greenville prosecutor.

Thursday's marathon hearing was carried live for most of the day on all three cable news networks.

On Thursday, Strzok said the message was written late at night after Trump's campaign comments disparaging a slain US soldier. He said the text, written late at night and off-the-cuff, reflected his belief that the American public would not stomach such "horrible, disgusting behavior" by the Republican presidential candidate.

But, he added in a raised voice and emphatic tone: "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". So I take great offense.

Plus, he said, both investigations were handled by large teams. He said Strzok's texts were "the ideal foil" for Republicans.

The committee then changed course and issued a subpoena for Strzok's public testimony, which prompted the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent's attorney to accuse Republicans of playing political games and seeking to "trap" his client. "It simply couldn't happen".

At the end of his monologue, Democrats in the committee chamber applauded.

Strzok and Page were both identified as having sent multiple texts on government phones revealing anti-Trump bias in the Inspector General's report released in June.

Strzok was reassigned from the Russian Federation investigation.

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok testified Thursday before a joint session of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees. "Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him".

Republican and Democratic lawmakers openly yelled at one another as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte said Strzok needed to answer GOP questions and suggested they might recess the hearing and hold him in contempt. Goodlatte eventually let the hearing proceed without calling the panel into recess.

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".

In his opening statement, Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was "blunt", it was not directed at one person or party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen.

"Where the Federal Bureau of Investigation has directed me not to answer, I will abide by the FBI's instructions, but let me be clear, this is not because I don't want to answer your questions", he said. He said the hearing plays into Putin's hands, and he defended his and the FBI's actions investigating Hillary Clinton's email server and Russian interference in the 2016 election. But, he said, "the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind". Such disturbing lack of faith in the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on display in the hearing, he said.

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".

Strzok refused to answer a question asking who Corn and Simpson were, though the last names likely refer to Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, and David Corn, the Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine.

Strzok said Russia's action "constitutes a grave attack on our democracy" and has "been wildly successful" because Americans lack faith in their institutions. 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.

An embattled Federal Bureau of Investigation agent whose anti-Trump text messages exposed the Justice Department to claims of institutional bias vigorously defended himself Thursday at an extraordinary congressional hearing that devolved into shouting matches, finger-pointing and veiled references to personal transgressions.

In one particularly testy exchange, Trey Gowdy of SC questioned Mr Strzok about messages in which he said "we'll stop" Mr Trump's election and that Democrat Hillary Clinton should win 100m votes to zero.

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