Texas lawmaker attacks Federal Bureau of Investigation agent over affair


"Credibility of a witness is always an issue", Gohmert retorted over the commotion. Republicans' dissatisfaction with Strzok and the FBI's handling of him prompted the joint hearing of the House Oversight and House Judiciary committees Thursday. Democrats began interrupting Goodlatte, arguing that he did not have to answer.

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. Democrats responded with a call to bring back before the committee former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was not forced to answer certain questions.

On another, he said the "IG Report totally destroys James Comey and all of his minions including the great lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page".

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

"It would be his candidacy for the presidency", Strzok said.

Trump's supporters in Congress have accused Strzok and Page of steering the Clinton probe away from criminal charges and pushing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to aggressively investigate Trump advisers through electronic surveillance and confidential informants.

But he denied that his personal political leanings had colored his professional judgment, as Republicans raised doubts about the integrity of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between Trump's election campaign and Russian Federation.

But Republicans charged that Strzok's texts were evidence that he was biased to clear Clinton and go after Donald Trump, grilling him about the messages he exchanged with then-FBI agent Lisa Page that led to his dismissal from special counsel Robert Mueller's team. "We'll stop it", Strzok told her.

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She said the "FBI helped this unfit man become president of the United States" and that Republicans should be "kissing" Strzok in the wake of Trump's election.

Strzok claimed that those messages should be taken in the proper context.

Strzok called it "horrible and disgusting behaviour", and said he was stating his opinion the electorate would "stop" a candidate like that. "I think chairman Goodlatte and chairman Gowdy demonstrated they are more interested in protecting Mr. Trump and preventing the continued investigation from moving forward". It simply couldn't happen. Reportedly, some committee Democrats applauded. First, it mounted a cautious investigation of what almost everyone now acknowledges was a comprehensive effort by Russian Federation to help Trump get elected, an effort that people on the Trump campaign and even in Donald Trump's own family tried to cooperate with. The text and emails may have been discovered in May of 2017, but the bias existed and was manifest a year and a half before that. He pointed in particular to Trump's attacks on the Khans, a Gold Star family who spoke at the Democratic National Convention around that time. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind. It sort of goes to the sort of rule that exists: you should put nothing in text or email that you are not comfortable seeing on the front page of the New York Times or on CNN's banner across the bottom of the screen there. 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.

Although the charges are unrelated to Mr Manafort's work for candidate Trump, Mr Mueller's team is vigorously pursuing the case - perhaps in the hope of eventually gaining the long-time Washington insider's co-operation in his ongoing investigation.

Page was subpoenaed to appear for a closed-door interview on Wednesday but defied the subpoena, saying she had not been given sufficient time to review the materials related to her testimony.

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

The DOJ IG report, however, concluded it could not find evidence of "political bias" toward Trump.