House Democrats Applaud Peter Strzok’s Speech Defending Himself, FBI Against Bias Charges

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departs after a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in June 2017

A joint House hearing to question an FBI agent who worked on investigations involving both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton quickly devolved into chaos as Republicans demanded he answer questions about the Russian Federation investigation.

As you know, Strzok was one of the key agents involved in investigating Russian interference, and in 2017 he was assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of the Russia scandal.

A joint House hearing to question FBI agent Peter Stzrok quickly devolved into chaos as Republicans demanded he answer questions about the Russian Federation investigation.

After a brief recess, Mr. Strzok said he was advised that he could answer the question. Gohmert shouted, turning back toward Strzok. Bannon had testified to the House Intelligence Committee a year ago, but did not answer any question not approved by the White House counsel. His lawyer has argued that the public hearing is an attempt by Republicans to "trap" Strzok, and they have urged the committee's Republicans to release the transcript of his closed-door interview.

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. Strzok was pulled off the Mueller investigation past year after the Justice Department's internal watchdog made the special prosecutor aware of the texts.

Strzok was asked if he ever thought of recusing himself from the investigation.

"It's now clear Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States and can not defeat Hillary Clinton", Connolly said, quoting Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala. Strzok plainly is talking about some sort of action "we" will take, some intervention, not the passivity of hoping Americans will reject Trump based on information it already has.

Meanwhile, across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort arrived at his new jail facility, as he awaits the first of two trials on charges of money laundering, illegal foreign lobbying and obstruction of justice.

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"Furthermore, this isn't just me sitting here telling you, you don't have to take my word for it", Strzok said in a lengthy statement that ended with applause from Democrats.

The response was met with some applause in the committee room. Trump didn't do anything wrong, it's just one giant witch hunt! He described the texts as "hate filled and biased". "It simply couldn't happen, and the proposition that that is going on, that it might occur anywhere in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, deeply corrodes what the Federal Bureau of Investigation is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive".

In his most direct defense of the controversial texts, Strzok said he had written them "off-the-cuff" and that it was important to view them in the context of the heated election in 2016, during which Trump engaged in numerous outrageous, racially-charged feuds - including with the family of Muslim U.S. Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004. Strzok says he never allowed personal opinions to taint his work.

Strzok had sent Page a link to an article on Trump's criticism of the Khans, adding "F Trump".

"This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax", Strzok said in a statement to be delivered at the hearing.

Jeffress accused the panels of using unnecessary "bullying tactics" to push Page into an interview immediately, especially when "she has offered to voluntarily appear before the committees later this month".

Page told investigators that she and Strzok were having an affair, according to a Justice Department Inspector General's report about the Clinton email investigation, and that they used their work devices to hide that from their spouses.

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