The FBI agent who exchanged anti-Trump texts including a missive that "we'll stop" his election and discussed an "insurance policy" against a Trump presidency, denied doing anything wrong professionally before a hearing called by Republican lawmakers who argue that his bias irrevocably tainted the agency's Russian Federation investigation.
"Mr. Chairman, I do not believe I am here under subpoena, " Strzok said.
One message that has received particular attention, and is likely to be discussed at the hearing, is an August 8, 2016 text in which Strzok, discussing with Page the prospect of a Trump win, says, "No".
Goodlatte then said: "The gentleman may proceed".
"They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me anymore than I would tolerate it in them", Strzok said. He concluded a long oration on his own behalf by stating that the accusation that his anti-Trumpism affected his professional conduct "deeply corrodes what the Federal Bureau of Investigation is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive".
[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right?
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"What's stop "it"?" Gowdy asked.
Strzok was removed from Mueller's team when media outlets obtained and published his text messages with Page. "What and who did you mean by 'it?"
"You need to understand that that was written late at night, off the cuff, and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and 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".
"I don't care when it was written, I don't care whether it was longhand, cursive, I don't care about any of that". Bernie Sanders. He said there was "simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions". And, in additional texts, he called Trump a "disaster", "abysmal", and an "idiot". This included questions about the text messages he exchanged with FBI attorney Lisa Page that raised concerns of political bias in the investigations of Hillary Clinton's emails and Trump campaign ties to Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.
"Unfortunately, I think Chairman Goodlatte and Chairman Gowdy demonstrated they are more interested in protecting Mr. Trump, and preventing the continued investigation from moving forward, and taking these cheap shots at Strzok were just unconscionable", he asserted.
Strzok blasted Gohmert in his response, saying that his remark about "the look I would engage in with a family member who I have acknowledged hurting goes more to a discussion about your character and what you stand for".
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Gowdy repeated his question and Strzok repeated his answer, infuriating Goodlatte. "He endured 15 minutes of badgering of the witness, can he be allowed now to answer as you promised?" It is generally agreed that his text messages were problematic, regardless of if you think this reflects corruption and bias in all law enforcement or the Mueller probe.
"Not at all", a defiant Strzok said. It was, Strzok said, concern about the appearance of bias, rather than bias that caused his removal.
Democrats have said the investigation is an attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.
The FBI agent went on to assail Republicans for corroding "what the FBI is in American society", and impairing its capacity to execute its mission.
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