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13 July 2018, 10:39 | Devin Moran
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At a congressional hearing Thursday, FBI agent Peter Strzok defended himself from attacks from GOP lawmakers that a text he sent in 2016 - in which he said that "we'll stop" then candidate-Donald Trump - proved he was biased in the Russian Federation investigation into Trump's campaign.
Strzok testified before the House in a closed-door hearing in June, where Republicans railed against his credibility in claiming that his texts with Page were not evidence that he meant to block Trump from the presidency, as his critics have said an August 2016 message suggests. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) asked of Strzok - prompting one of the many outcries from Democrats.
Democrats loudly objected to Goodlatte's attempts to force Strzok to answer Gowdy's first question about how many witnesses were interviewed in the opening days of Russian Federation probe.
One of the recent hobgoblins of the right is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had (has?) an explicit anti-Trump bias, and that this has corrupted them ideologically and led to partisan efforts to undermine the president.
"I'll tell you what, this investigation started flawed with the dossier", he concluded.
"I am certain that Congress will have the opportunity to look at any investigation once it is closed", he said.
He said he was one of the few people during the 2016 election who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with people in the Trump orbit, and that that information could have derailed Trump's election chances.
As soon as the questions got underway, the hearing devolved into a partisan verbal brawl as House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte struggled to maintain control of the crowded hearing room, which contained more than 70 members between the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.
And yet some analysts couldn't help but notice a hint of irony in Republicans' argument that Strzok's personal views must have influenced his official duty, while they simultaneously conduct investigations into politicians they openly support or oppose.
FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok testifies before the the House Committees on the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform on Capitol Hill, Thursday, July 12, 2018.
Goodlatte said he was holding open the prospect of calling Strzok back again because he was unsatisfied with the lack of answers to some questions.
Strzok said under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he vowed "we'll stop" a Trump candidacy followed Trump's denigration of the family of a dead United States service member.
"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", Strzok told the committees. We " ll stop it".
"I urge our chairmen to change course and to keep their promises to protect the integrity of the special counsel's investigation", Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in his opening statement Thursday.
Top Republicans are still at odds with the Justice Department and FBI over a series of sensitive document requests for information related to the investigations, and some conservatives have threatened to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress or even try to impeach him over the standoff.
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