Peter Strzok Spins Conspiracy Theory in House Testimony: Investigating Me Helps Putin

Alex Wong  Getty Images North America

Alex Wong Getty Images North America

The texts have generated a furor as Republicans have focused on them as evidence of bias against President Trump by a key member of the team leading the investigations into the ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, as well as Hillary Clinton's private email server.

Thursday's hearing, which was the first public appearance Strzok has made since he became a central figure in the Russian Federation investigation, underscored the deep tensions on Capitol Hill over the FBI's investigations connected to the 2016 election.

Strzok noted that he sent text messages critical of other 2016 candidates including Sen.

Strzok said he could not answer a question about the early stages of the FBI investigation into Russian intervention because the probe is still ongoing and FBI counsel had instructed him not to.

Strzok was chastised in a June Justice Department Department of Inspector General report, which revealed Strzok texted "we'll stop it" in 2016, seemingly referring seemingly to Donald Trump's path to the presidency. "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.

In Thursday's hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Republicans hope to further undermine the credibility of the investigation and head off any potential effort to impeach Trump.

"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.

"At every step, at every investigative decision, there are multiple layers of people above me, the assistant director, executive assistant director, deputy director and director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, multiple layers of people below me, section chief, supervisors, unit chiefs, case agents and analysts, all of whom were involved in all of these decisions", he said.

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But Republicans lambasted the embattled FBI agent, accusing him of "textbook bias" in his handling of the Clinton and Trump investigations.

"I am stating to you it is not my understanding that he kicked me off because of any bias that it was done based on the appearance", Strzok said.

"Agent Strzok, that is a fantastic answer to a question that nobody asked", Gowdy fired back.

"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", Strzok said.

Strzok also expressed regret for the messages he and Page exchanged, but emphasized that his personal opinions did not impact any of his official actions.

Trump criticized the two again ahead of the House hearing in a Twitter post from his trip to Europe. House lawmakers subpoenaed her to appear for a private interview and warned her that they would begin the process of holding her in contempt if she does not show this week.

Chairman Goodlatte made the announcement during an interview Thursday, saying the details are still being worked out.

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