Friday, 19 October, 2018

GOP says ex-FBI lawyer's testimony reinforces bias

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Grady Vargas | 15 July, 2018, 10:11

Republican lawmakers grilled Strzok on Capitol Hill Thursday.

Page and Strzok came to lawmakers' attention over a series of anti-Trump text messages they exchanged while they were having a romantic affair, material uncovered by the Justice Department's inspector general during an internal probe of the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation.

The audience roared and cheered at the text messages and Colbert replied slyly: "I don't know, but hopefully Robert Mueller will tell us soon".

Republicans aimed to show that Strzok went easy on Hillary Clinton's emails and rigged a witch hunt against Trump.

"Under oath, as I spoke also during my interview to you a week or two ago, I have always told the truth", Strzok began. Strzok evades and refuses to answer the question on grounds the investigation is still ongoing, even though he has been off of it for months now.

Peter Strzok testified publicly for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team following the discovery of the texts a year ago.

"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.

Vox offered an "explainer" on the hearings headlined, "The FBI agent accused of political bias defended himself in a raucous hearing".

Mr Strzok's case has been used by the president and many Republicans to discredit Mueller's investigation on alleged ties between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin.

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Acting like they were cast members on a reality TV show - yelling, interrupting each other, and hurling insults - members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees spent nearly 10 hours alternately attacking and defending Strzok, a suspended Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy assistant director.

Strzok was reassigned from the Russian Federation investigation.

Gohmert said impassionedly as Democrats on the committee yelled, "Mister Chairman, this is outrageous!" and a female member yelled, "You need your medication".

On Thursday, Strzok said the message was written late at night after Trump's campaign comments disparaging a slain US soldier. 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.

He said the Trump investigation originated not out of personal animus but rather from concern that Russia was meddling in the election, including what he said were allegations of "extraordinary significance" of a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign member.

Strzok tried to respond, but Gohmert cut him off, insisting that he was not allowed to answer due to hearing rules that the witness could only respond if a representative asked a direct question.

"President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russian Federation takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won't interfere in future elections", the New York Democrat said.

Cameras caught up with her Friday, following her testimony to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. And Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman said, "I have never seen my colleagues so out of control, so angry".

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