At FBI agent hearing, top Dem displays 'guilty' posters of Mueller convictions

Peter Strzok the FBI agent facing criticism following a series of anti Trump text messages walks to gives a deposition before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Strzok whose anti-Trump

At FBI agent hearing, top Dem displays 'guilty' posters of Mueller convictions

The FBI agent's anti-Trump text messages sent to Page, with whom he was having an affair, have come under scrutiny by congressional Republicans and the Justice Department's internal watchdog.

Strzok also said he was one of the few people during the 2016 USA election who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with people in the Trump orbit, and that information could have derailed Trump's election chances.

At one point, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) asked Strzok how many people he had interviewed for the Russian Federation probe between July 31 and August 8, 2016.

He said that his text messages critical of Trump shortly after the investigation began were in response to Trump's behavior on the campaign trail - and not a reflection of his investigative intent.

Published on June 14, the Inspector General's report was a review of the FBI's probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server under former director James Comey - and it included discussions of the text messages between Strzok and Page. He and an FBI lawyer he sent the messages to briefly worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russian Federation, but were dismissed from the team previous year even though FBI agents are not prohibited from privately expressing political views.

Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte, who heads the House Judiciary Committee, threatened to hold Strzok in contempt at the end of the hearing if he did not answer Gowdy's question.

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"The suggestion that I'm in some dark chamber somewhere in the Federal Bureau of Investigation would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards, and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me - it simply couldn't happen", he said.

"The more information we acquire, the more interviews we conduct, and the more sources we contact, the more we learn", he said.

The incident was one of several occasions throughout the hours-long hearing that Strzok faced personal attacks from Republicans including Gohmert, as well as Jim Jordan of Ohio, Trey Gowdy of SC and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.

The notion that Strzok can avoid the requirements of subpoena because he said he would appear voluntarily seems flimsy, if not frivolous. "That is why we're here and why this matter".

Strzok's statement also denied that political considerations have ever affected his official acts as an investigator.

Meanwhile, the House broke questioning to hold a 5-minute long vote to table a motion made by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to subpoena former Trump aide Steve Bannon over his refusal to answer lawmakers' questions, similar to threats Strzok received during Thursday's hearing.

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Strzok did not respond to Gohmert's outburst about the affair with Page. "I want to know what "it" meant, Agent Strzok", Gowdy said. 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. Both worked on the FBI investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails and later special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. "Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him".

Strzok said he doesn't remember writing the text.

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.

"Like many people, I had and expressed personal political opinions during an extraordinary presidential election", Strzok said.

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