Steve Bannon must testify to counter Peter Strzok testimony, House Democrats demand

14 July, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell reacts after the Republican weekly policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington

"Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him".

Strzok was testifying before a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, where he defended himself against claims he allowed his personal biases to affect his investigation into alleged ties between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation.

Conservatives proceeded to cast one of those text messages as the smoking gun in its case against Strzok in particular, and the FBI investigation into Trump, in general: In response to a message from Page expressing horror at the thought of Trump's election, Strzok replied, "We'll stop it".

In his opening statement, 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 Senator Bernie Sanders. "And 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 eye and lie to her about Lisa Page?".

The unsubstantiated accusations drew forceful objections from Democrats, including from Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, who called Gohmert's comments a "disgrace".

Ultimately Strzok responded to a question from Gowdy about the early portion of the Russian Federation investigation by defending his own work and the work of the FBI.

"'Did you let your political opinion affect your official duty in any way?' I expect her to say no", he said. "That is bias. Agent Strzok may not see it, but the rest of the country does, and it is not what we want, expect or deserve from any law enforcement officer, much less the Federal Bureau of Investigation". "I think not", Goodlatte said.

In one particularly testy exchange, Trey Gowdy of SC questioned Mr Strzok about messages in which he said "we'll stop" Mr Trump's election and that Democrat Hillary Clinton should win 100m votes to zero.


"This investigation is not politically motivated", Strzok said. He said the text, written late at night and off-the-cuff, reflected his belief that Americans would not stomach such "horrible, disgusting behaviour" by the presidential candidate.

California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California took the step of asking Strzok to read his own text messages out loud at the hearing, including when he called Trump a "douche". If the Gowdy-Strzok exchange were the Fourth of July fireworks, the rest of the day was the traffic jam as the crowds stuck in their cars tried to get home.

"I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there", Strzok said in the text.

"I don't appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations in 2016".

Page's appearance follows Strzok's explosive public hearing appearance on Thursday, where he tangled openly with Republican lawmakers.

"[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right?" At one point, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California chimed in, saying, "This is a stupid and ridiculous hearing". So much corruption on the other side.

The hearing exposed clear partisan divides in the House judiciary and oversight committees, as Democrats accused Republicans of trying to divert attention from Trump's ties to Russian Federation by excessively focusing on Strzok.

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