Friday, 17 August, 2018

Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok denies bias at hearing full of fireworks

Nato Jens Stoltenberg Donald Trump GETTYJens Stoltenberg is far from worried about Nato funding row after joking Donald Trump paid for food
Patty Aguilar | 13 July, 2018, 22:43

House Democrats demanded that former Trump campaign chief Stephen Bannon be called to testify to Congress as a counterpoint to Thursday's hearing with embattled FBI Agent Peter Strzok.

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.

Ahead of the hearing, Nadler and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, issued a statement Wednesday knocking the questions Republicans had asked of Strzok in the closed session, including queries on his extramarital affair with Page and his vote in 2016. Strzok, an expert in the field of counterintelligence, had played a leading role in the Hillary Clinton investigation.

"The suggestion that I and 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", said Strzok.

Strzok insisted under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he said "we'll stop" a Trump presidency followed Trump's denigration of the family of a dead USA service member.

"Mr. Strzok, are you starting to understand why some folks out there don't believe a word you say?" said Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas.

"You need to understand that that was written late at night, off the cuff, and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and my presumption based on that terrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States".

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.

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"If you were kicked off when he read the texts, shouldn't you have been kicked off when you wrote them?"

"My presumption, based on that awful, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States", Strzok said.

Strzok's opinions about Trump dominated his Thursday hearing, as GOP lawmakers took him to task over his texts and pressed him - usually unsuccessfully - to reveal information about investigative steps and decisions he made in the Russian Federation probe. He said the FBI's Trump investigation originated not out of personal animus but rather from concern that Russia was seeking to meddle in the election, including what he said were credible allegations of a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign associate.

"President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him", Giuliani said.

"Congressman, I have to say that I was looking forward to this". They eventually cost Strzok his place on Robert Mueller's investigative team. But the report said it found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's decision to not pursue criminal charges against Clinton.

"That is who we are as the FBI", Strzok said in an animated riff that drew Democratic applause.

Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom told FOX Business that the "lies" perpetrated by FBI agent Peter Strzok are consistent with the lack of leadership exemplified by the agency's former director, James Comey.

Goodlatte told Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day" Thursday morning that Page had agreed to an interview Friday.

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