The long awaited testimony by Peter Strzok finally happened before the House Oversight Committee. Strzok is the former Trump hating FBI agent who was second in charge on Mueller’s committee investigating Russian collusion in to the election before he was let go because of bias. He was having an affair with FBI agent Lisa page who was also on the FBI investigation before she was let go. The two are both married to other people and had an affair and exchanged 50,000 text messages over six months. It was these text messages that caused this hearing and investigation into the investigators.
Strzok had previously testified behind closed doors for 11 hours. The hearings started at 10 a.m. and were still going on well after 6 pm with a one hour break at noon.
Thursday’s public testimony was very intense like a giant fireworks display and at times seemed like a WWE smack down match as both democrats and republicans traded harsh barbs with each other. Democrats accused their republican colleagues of being hostile and angry when it was THEY who were the hostile and angry ones. Many stuck up for Strzok and some went as far as to say Trump was not fit for office showing their own bias. Republicans on the other hand were more constrained and only got irate when attacked by democrats. Strzok, throughout it all, remained defiant and maintained that he did not show bias in those infamous messages with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strzok displayed various emotions ranging from arrogance, smugness with a wise ass smirk on his face to outright anger.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy tore into Strzok at the opening of Thursday’s hearing, saying he showed “textbook bias” on the job.
This later escalated into a stunningly heated exchange in which Strzok claimed he was kicked off Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe because of “perception,” not because of bias.
After Strzok said he didn’t “appreciate” how Gowdy was characterizing those events, the congressman fired back:
“I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok.”
There were 72 members questioning Strzok and the chair alternated them with one Republican questioning then followed by a democrat and each had five minutes to ask questions. Many democrats accused the republicans of having a waste of time with the hearing and said they should have hearings on more important things like the 3000 children separated from their parents at the border and gun control, etc.
Dem Rep.Luis Guiterrezz said angrily that the only people who care about his hearing is FOX News and the Kremlin.
Strzok refused to answer House Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan regarding which individuals gave the Bureau three copies of the Trump dossier, claiming the FBI will not allow him to divulge his sources.
After Jordan got Strzok on record admitting to having read the dossier, the Ohio representative zoned in on an email Strzok sent to a number of intelligence officials, including a woman he was having an extramarital affair with, former FBI counsel Lisa Page. In the email, Strzok discussed the different version of the dossier the FBI received from three separate sources.
“We got an e-mail that you sent. It should be presented there or should be in front of you there. I want you to take a look at this. This is an e-mail you wrote to Lisa Page, Bill, Jim, and cc’d Andy McCabe. The subject is Buzzfeed is about to accomplish the dossier. Are you familiar with this e-mail?” Jordan asked.
“I am,” Strzok replied.
“It says this, ‘Comparing now the set is only identical to what McCain had, parentheses, it has differences from what was given to us by Corn and Simpson.’ Did you write all that?” Jordan asked.
Strzok tried to get around the question, but Jordan persisted “It says ‘Peter Strzok’ and it says to ‘Lisa Page’ and a whole bunch of key people to the FBI. Did you write it?” Jordan asked.
“I did write this,” Strzok replied.
Jordan then tried to figure out who the Corn and Simpson Strzok was referencing and what their relation was to the dossier dumps. Strzok said that he is unable to answer that question under FBI direction.
Increasingly frustrated, Jordan then tried to coax Strzok to reveal the identities of Corn, Simpson and another source, Page.
“I just want to figure this out. I want to figure this out, agent Strzok. You’re referencing three copies of the dossier: the Buzzfeed copy you have, the one john McCain’s staff gave to you and the one that you said you got from Corn and Simpson. The one McCain gave to you and the one Buzzfeed has are identical in your words, but they have — the Corn and Simpson one is different,” Jordan said.
Jordan is referencing David Corn, a veteran reporter who works for Mother Jones, and Glenn Simpson, a founder of the opposition research firm behind the Trump dossier, Fusion GPS, in his questioning of Strzok
Strzok refused to answer that there were three copies of the dossier presented to the FBI, despite the fact that he referenced them in his email to intelligence officials.
Although Trey Gowdy and Jim Jordan were the best interrogators, there was misappropriations on both sides. The hearing got heated and chaotic as Strzok was informed by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte that he would be held in contempt of Congress for not answering the questions specifically from Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy.
After dodging multiple questions from Gowdy, Strzok gave a lengthy answer defending his anti-Trump behavior as never influencing his investigation into either Trump or Hillary.
“The suggestion that I in some dark chamber in the FBI would somehow cast aside all of these procedures — all of these safeguards — and this is astounding to me,” Strzok said, “It deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission and is deeply destructive.”
After the impassioned line, video captures multiple Democrats on the Judiciary committee bursting into applause for Strzok, a witness they are supposed to be questioning and investigating.
Another democrat representative suggested that Strzok should get a purple heart which was an insult to that medal.
When republican Louis Gohmert questioned Strzok about his truthfulness, Strzok replied that he always tells the truth and does not lie, to which Gohmert replied, “Can you look your wife in the eye and say that?” That was a reference to Strzok having an affair with Lisa Page. At that point Chairman Bob Goodlatte slammed the hammer down and said that was inappropriate. Strzok also fuming at that also said that was not pertinent to this hearing.
Several members brought up the text messages Strzok sent to Page saying he could smell Trump supporters when he was in Walmart and other similar derogatory statements about Trump supporters. Strzok apologized and said he chose the wrong words and should not have said those things.
Republican Rep. John Walker questioned Strzok about sending 50,000 texts over a six month period. “That’s 100 texts a day. Were you doing this when you should have been working?” Walker asked.
Strzok replied that many were work related and not all were personal.
Lisa Page is scheduled to testify next after refusing at first. She then said she needed more time to get things together. Should be interesting as she’s had time to get her story straight after listening to Strzok’s testimony today.