Monday, 16 July, 2018

Federal Bureau of Investigation agent: My work has never been tainted by political bias

U.S. President Donald Trump with Attorney General Jeff Sessions Jonathan Ernst Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump with Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Lisa Bryan | 13 July, 2018, 02:58

This is nothing but a ruse to try to get to the Mueller investigation and make people think it's baseless, that it's biased.

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 insisted under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he said "we'll stop" a Trump presidency followed Trump's denigration of the family of a dead USA service member.

In a testy hearing full of heated exchanges, perhaps the most memorable - at least, in the early hours of what is sure to be an emotionally charged, all-day hearing - was one between former FBI Agent Peter Strzok and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy.

Strzok again stated he could not answer and Goodlatte said the Committee would consider a contempt citation.

It's worth noting that Goodlatte's justification - that the committee's investigation is ongoing - was the same one Strzok offered for not answering questions about the special counsel's Russian Federation probe. In a minutes-long retort, he called Gowdy's and his Republican allies' allegations of bias and improper actions "deeply destructive".

Strzok has met with members of the House Judiciary Committee privately, but his hearing scheduled for Thursday is open. Jerry Nadler of NY.

"The gentleman's point of order is not well taken", Goodlatte said.

I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, at no time in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took.

Congress' remedy, if it wants Strzok to answer the question, is to persuade the Justice Department that it's entitled to an answer.


Strzok was removed from Mueller's team when media outlets obtained and published his text messages with Page.

"You need to understand that that was written late at night, off the cuff, and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero", Strzok said.

"Here's the good news, I already know the answer to it", Gowdy said, stating that he had viewed the file showing that Strzok had not interviewed anyone yet during that time. I understand his point is, 'Well that bias didn't infiltrate into my work, into my conduct in the professional capacity, ' but you can understand why, when you look at the language of those texts that it's very easy to point to a bias that this Federal Bureau of Investigation agent was expressing.

Strzok said under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he vowed "we'll stop" a Trump candidacy followed Trump's denigration of the family of a dead USA service member.

"You need to understand that that was written late at night, off the cuff, and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and my presumption based on that terrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States".

Peter Strzok gives his opening remarks.

Strzok appeared before lawmakers in Congress last month for a closed-door interview. Goodlatte told CNN that Page had agreed to appear Friday.

Democrats argued that a witness such as Strzok would not be expected to publicly disclose sensitive information like the blueprint for a hydrogen bomb.

Ahead of the hearing, Nadler and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, issued a statement Wednesday knocking the questions Republicans had asked of Strzok in the closed session, including queries on his extramarital affair with Page and his vote in 2016.

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