Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Peter Strzok hearing revealed one thing - Washington's partisan dysfunction

Joshua Roberts  Reuters Joshua Roberts Reuters
Andrew Cummings | 15 July, 2018, 09:57

In an explosive, hourslong congressional hearing Thursday, FBI agent Peter Strzok was defiant as Republicans unleashed blistering attacks, saying his anti-Trump sentiment - captured in personal text messages - is evidence of bias at the Justice Department.

Although Mueller removed Strzok from the Trump-Russia probe once his texts with Page came to light, Giuliani still insisted that Mueller is "asleep at the switch" with a team filled with investigators who are registered Democrats and donated to Democratic causes.

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert went after FBI agent Peter Strzok during a televised House committee hearing Thursday for cheating on his wife with colleague Lisa Page druing the investigations into Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Strzok maintained during the hearing he was not under subpoena, but instead testifying voluntarily. "A Democrat from Rhode Island said that we needed to give Peter Strzok our apology and one Democrat from Tennessee even said that he deserved the Purple Heart".

Even more importantly, Rep. Gohmert has clearly rebutted the finding of the Department of Justice Inspector General that while bias was exhibited, it had no effect on the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Justice.

"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. He said the FBI's Trump investigation originated not out of personal animus but rather from concern that Russia was seeking to meddle in the election, including what he said were credible allegations of a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign associate.

Several Democrats gasped, shouting at Gohmert, "That is outrageous!" and "Shame on you!"

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Strzok later replied that he has "always told the truth".

Republican arguments presumed that Strzok's opinions were tantamount to corrupt behavior.

During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday as the mass demonstrations kicked off, Trump-who was briefed on the 12 indictments earlier this week-said he plans to ask Putin about his alleged role in election meddling but doesn't expect Putin to make any admissions.

"But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind". But despite the generally complimentary mood toward Page, Republicans weren't feeling any warmer toward Strzok.

FBI Director Chris Wray says employees who were singled out for criticism in the report have been referred to internal disciplinary officials.

In a statement, the congressman said, "My intent was to speak metaphorically to make a broader point about attacks against the FBI and Special Counsel Mueller's investigation into a Russian attack on our country".

Republicans, on the other hand, peppered Strzok with questions and expressed outrage that's been building for months.

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