Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Hearing on Russia probe devolves into shouting match

Hearing on Russia probe devolves into shouting match

Gohmert said he meant to ask Strzok about an allegation that the agent was told by Intelligence Community Inspector General's investigator Frank Rucker that an "anomaly" was found in the metadata within Clinton's unauthorized private email server.

"Under oath, as I spoke also during my interview to you a week or two ago, I have always told the truth", Strzok began.

Peter Strzok, while involved in the probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server in 2016, exchanged text messages with Federal Bureau of Investigation attorney Lisa Page that were critical of Trump. And particularly damaging was the fact that, according to unnamed USA officials, Strzok played a role in changing former FBI Director James Comey's wording regarding how she handled classified information from "gross negligence" to the noncriminal "extremely careless". "The FBI has agreed to provide Lisa with her notes and other documents to allow her to prepare, but they have not provided those documents to date, so we are still waiting to work out a reasonable date for her interview".

Representative Louie Gohmert went so far as to call out Strzok over his affair with Page, while other House Republicans, including Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan and Bob Goodlatte, chastised him over what they believed was bias toward Trump during the investigations of Hillary Clinton's private email server and the Trump campaign's alleged contacts with Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign.

Strzok had told Gowdy he was unable to answer a question related to the Russian Federation probe, saying he had been instructed not to comment on matters related to an ongoing investigation.

This is the second time Strzok has testified in front of the Committees.

Russian officers accused of hacking Democrats, indicted in election interference probe
Trump said Thursday he would ask Putin about the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 USA election, but pointed out Putin will likely deny it.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said the congressional focus on the "internal workings of the special counsel's investigation" distracts from more critical questions about Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the need to protect future USA elections from foreign influence. He also said he had never contemplated leaking damaging information he knew about the Trump campaign.

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees held a joint public hearing with Strzok on Thursday, following a separate closed-door interview with him as well as a contentious open hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray two weeks ago. Strzok, an expert in the field of counterintelligence, had played a leading role in the Hillary Clinton investigation.

"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.

When Strzok declined to answer some questions on the Russian Federation probe, Goodlatte suggested Republicans might recess the hearing and hold him in contempt. Democrats objected and Goodlatte eventually let the hearing proceed.

Strzok argued that Mueller did not remove him from his team because of bias, but because of the perception the texts created.

'At no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took, ' Strzok said. "But", he said, "the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind". The texts were discovered during the Justice Department inspector general's probe of the Clinton email investigation.

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