Takeaways from FBI Agent's Explosive Congressional Hearing

Howard TerryJul 14, 2018

Numerous media's seasoned political analysts professed to hear nothing new inFBI agent Peter Strzok's congressional testimony Thursday.

Embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok faced off with House Republicans Thursday at a fiery and raucous hearing where he forcefully defended his actions in the Hillary Clinton email and Russian Federation investigations amid sharp attacks over the anti-Trump text messages he sent. "Americans across the country are alarmed at the bias exhibited by top officials at the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and it is imperative Congress conduct vigorous oversight to ensure that never happens again". She has known for months that the House Judiciary Committee has sought her testimony as part of our joint investigation with the Oversight Committee into decisions made by the Justice Department in 2016, and she has no excuse for her failure to appear.

But there was one particular exchange, involving Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), a social conservative, that stood out for its personal animus and, many charged, its hypocrisy.

"I can't help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page?" he asked.

Trump, who divorced his first wife to marry the woman with whom he was having an affair, is involved in a lawsuit with an adult-film star with whom he also reportedly had an affair around the time his third wife gave birth to his youngest child.

What he referred to as a "parliamentary smackdown" and the "Thunder Dome" in the Capitol Dome, Colbert began explaining to his audience how Strzok's anti-Trump tweets were being scrutinized by GOP lawmakers.

Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was "blunt", it was not directed at one person or political party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen.

Strzok shot back, saying the question revealed more about Gohmert's character than his own.

"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.

Strzok implored Republicans to appreciate the context of his text, which was sent late at night, shortly after the Republican nominee had "insulted the immigrant family of a fallen war hero" (i.e., the family of Khizr Muazzam Khan, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention).

The top query, he said, is whether her political bias bled into her work.

Gowdy seized on one message that has received particular attention from right-wing media outlets, an August 8, 2016, text in which Strzok, discussing with Page the prospect of a Trump win, says, "No".

"My presumption [was] based on that terrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States", Strzok explained.

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.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., held open the possibility that the panel would still hold Strzok in contempt because he wouldn't answer questions about the ongoing Russian Federation investigation. "But", he said, "the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind".

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