Texas lawmaker attacks Federal Bureau of Investigation agent over affair

13 Julio, 2018, 00:51 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departs after a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in June 2017

Strzok told lawmakers in his opening statement that he followed department protocol handling sensitive information about the extent of Russia's meddling in the USA election and the Trump team's potential role in it.

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. This included questions about the text messages he exchanged with FBI attorney Lisa Page that raised concerns of political bias in the investigations of Hillary Clinton's emails and Trump campaign ties to Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.

He said that his text messages critical of Trump shortly after the investigation began were in response to Trump's behavior on the campaign trail - and not a reflection of his investigative intent. In breaking his months-long silence, Strzok defended his handling of two sensitive investigations in which he played a leading role: inquiries into Hillary Clinton's email use and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Strzok declined to answer, saying that FBI counsel instructed him not to answer questions about an ongoing investigation.

Trump - who mocks Page and Strzok as the "FBI lovers" - blasted Page's decision not to appear Thursday in a tweet, lamenting the "corruption on the other side" and again calling out Attorney General Jeff Sessions to do something about it. To Republicans, those text messages are the smoking gun that proves Trump is utterly blameless and the entire investigation into him was tainted from the start and must be shut down.

"The more information we acquire, the more interviews we conduct, and the more sources we contact, the more we learn", he said.

"Sir, I think it's important when you look at those texts that you understand the context in which they were made and the things that were going on across America", Strzok said.

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"Mr. Chairman, I do not believe I am here under subpoena, " Strzok said. "That is why we're here and why this matter". Strzok: "No ... we'll stop it".

At one point, Gowdy asked what the word "it" meant in Strzok's text. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Hillary Clinton. 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.

At one point, when he was finally allowed to give a complete answer to a question, Strzok somewhat angrily explained why not only didn't he do anything to unfairly twist the investigation into Russian meddling, he couldn't have even if he wanted to.

"The special counsel has now obtained five guilty pleas and indicted 18 others, including some of President Trump's closest advisers - referencing posters that included retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn who resigned and pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

"My presumption, based on that frightful, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States", Strzok said.

Strzok said he doesn't remember writing the text. At that time, investigators for the Justice Department inspector general discovered text messages between him and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page in which they repeatedly disparaged Trump and expressed a strong desire that he not win the election.

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.

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