FBI agent rejects GOP allegations of anti-Trump bias in contentious hearing

FBI agent rejects GOP allegations of anti-Trump bias in contentious hearing

FBI agent rejects GOP allegations of anti-Trump bias in contentious hearing

Republicans' dissatisfaction with Strzok and the FBI's handling of him prompted the joint hearing of the House Oversight and House Judiciary committees Thursday.

"I don't appreciate what was originally said being changed", Strzok said, accusing Gowdy of misrepresenting his earlier testimony.

"But let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took", he said.

Strzok also served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, before being removed by Mueller.

"In terms of the texts that 'we will stop it, ' you need to understand 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 frightful, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States", Strzok said.

Mr. Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, questioned Mr. Strzok about his dismissal from Mr. Mueller's team, saying the texts disparaging President Trump showed he was biased.

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"You have not stated a valid, legal basis for not responding to a question directed to you by a member of the United States House of Representatives", the chairman said, threatening to hold Strzok in contempt.

The "we'll stop it" text is considered Strzok's most controversial text message to have surfaced.

The Justice Department's inspector general has criticized Strzok and Page for creating the appearance of impropriety through the texts.

Peter Strzok said he had information with "the potential to derail and quite possibly defeat" Trump but said the "thought of expressing that or exposing that information never crossed his mind".

For a brief moment, lawmakers floated the idea of Strzok having some company when he appears Thursday - as the committee offered Page a spot to testify at Thursday's hearing.

He added: "I have the utmost respect for Congress's oversight role, but I truly believe that today's hearing is just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart". "No he's not. We'll stop it".

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Strzok wound up where he begun, with a condemnation of the partisan attacks on the Justice Department and FBI he said had been corrosive of Americans' trust in federal law enforcement. In it, Strzok describes his reluctance to work on behalf of the special counsel, and that seemed to imply he didn't think there would be substantial findings of collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign team.

"This investigation is a political charade - a platform to elevate far-right conspiracy theories and undermine the special counsel's ongoing criminal investigation of the President and his campaign aides", Nadler and Cummings said in that statement.

The sharp tone of Strzok's statement sets the stage for a contentious hearing following hours of closed-door questioning last week.

FBI Director Chris Wray says the bureau has referred to internal disciplinary officials employees who were singled out for criticism in the inspector general's report.

Page had been subpoenaed to appear on Capitol Hill on Thursday, but did not comply with the order because Congress hadn't given her "sufficient time to prepare".

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