Congressional Hearing Of FBI Agent Strzok Becomes Political Circus
Thursday morning's hearing of FBI Agent Peter Strzok in the Congressional Judiciary and Oversight Committee quickly turned into a highly-charged political circus as soon as questioning began.
Strzok was the lead agent on both the investigations of the Clinton and Trump Campaigns.
He was also a part of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's team investigating alleged Russian collusion to influence the 2016 Presidential Election before text messages he exchanged with another FBI official, Lisa Page (with whom he was having an extra-marital affair) raised questions about bias within the ranks of the FBI. Mueller removed him from the team when the messages, which were highly derogatory of the candidate Trump, came to light.
Page was subpoenaed to appear at a Congressional hearing this week, but refused.
The hearing quickly veered into political theater when South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy started pressing him about the Russian collusion investigation and Strzok refused to answer any questions. When asked about the extreme bias and indications that Strzok and the Bureau as a whole could stop Trump from being elected, he maintained that despite the rhetoric in those texts he was completely fair and unbiased in his investigations.
Gowdy pressed him on a text in which Strzok wrote, "we'll stop it," presumably referring to the FBI stopping the Trump Campaign. Agent Strzok at first explains what he meant by the statement, but approximately 30 seconds later says that he "doesn't recall writing that text."
House Democrats on the Committee quickly jumped in to try and keep Strzok from answering questions, trying to end the hearing after he stated several times that he would not answer questions involving the Russia investigation.
Attempts to adjourn the hearing were shot down, and then a Democratic member of the committee attempted to pass a resolution to call former Trump Advisor Steve Bannon to testify at a similar hearing.
After Strzok gave an impassioned speech in response to Gowdy's questioning, saying at one point, that Gowdy's accusations "deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive."
House Democrats openly applauded after Strzok's statement.
However, Agent Strzok then had a more clear response to more questions about his heavy criticism of Candidate Trump in text messages, saying that he was responding to Trump's, "insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero. And my presumption based on that horrible, disgusting behavior [was] that the American people would not elect someone demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States."
Questions about bias and whether or not Strzok could effectively carry out an investigation holding opinions and bias concerned Republicans, but Democrats and others connected to the bureau maintain that it would be impossible to consider that no one in law enforcement leading investigations can hold no political or personal opinions.