FBI agent defiant as Republicans claim bias in Trump investigation

Leroy Wright
July 14, 2018

Republican members of the House judiciary and oversight committees grilled Strzok as they argued that text messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page colored the outcome of the Clinton investigation and undercut the ongoing Russian Federation probe.

A sign stands outside the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters in Washington, D.C., February 2, 2018.

Democrats objected to Goodlatte's repeated attempts to get Strzok to answer.

"Only with your own counsel", Goodlatte responded.

"Mr. Gowdy, my understanding of why I was kicked off was that based on an understanding of those texts, and the perception that they might create-" Strzok said.

Goodlatte said he issued a subpoena to compel Page to talk to lawmakers Wednesday, but her attorney said she would not appear.

"This is the first time I've seen Congress as frustrated with Congress as we are!"

"Not at all", a defiant Strzok said.

"Every American, every single one, has a political belief", Strzok said, and the vast majority of those don't constitute bias. The 2008 Republican presidential candidate has repeatedly challenged Mueller's appointment and claimed no collusion took place between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, while personally attacking Mueller and any findings of his probe.

Strzok was removed from that role after anti-Trump text messages between Strzok and an Federal Bureau of Investigation attorney - Lisa Page, the woman with whom he was having an affair - were published.

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Repulican Trey Gowdy of SC said Strzok exhibited "textbook bias" and in his mind had Clinton "winning the White House" before he finished her investigation.

"We don't want to read text message after text message dripping with bias against one of the two presidential candidates", Goodlatte said, adding that the congressional inquiry "goes to the very heart of our system of justice", and that Strzok and other feds had turned that "on its head".

Strzok was indignant in defending his text to Page, which stated, "We'll stop it [Trump from being elected]". "But I thought at times it wasn't working for the Republicans".

"My presumption [was] based on that terrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States", Strzok explained.

The response was met with some applause in the committee room. He described the texts as "hate filled and biased".

Page served as the deputy counsel to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and worked briefly for the Mueller team, but was taken off the special counsel's staff when the text messages were discovered.

In his opening statement, Strzok said he has never allowed personal opinions to infect his work, that he knew information during the campaign that had the potential to damage Trump but never contemplated leaking it and that the focus put on him by Congress is misguided and plays into "our enemies' campaign to tear America apart".

It is point that has been largely brushed aside in Trump-friendly media circles, with a text Strzok sent to Page in May 2017 also receiving comparatively little scrutiny. "What does Trump support smell like Mister Strzok?"

"I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there", Strzok said in the text. "It is not a witch hunt".

The contentious hearing follows hours of closed-door questioning last week.

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