FBI agent defiant as Republicans claim bias in Trump investigation

Nato Jens Stoltenberg Donald Trump

Throughout the hearing, Strzok denied that any of his animus toward Trump affected his work, and said lawmakers were taking his words out of context. He also said he had never contemplated leaking damaging information he knew about the Trump campaign.

Strzok struck a combative tone throughout the hearing, telling congressmen, "Today's hearing is just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart".

In breaking his months-long silence, Strzok vigorously defended his handling of two hugely sensitive investigations in which he played a leading role: inquiries into Hillary Clinton's email use and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

On Friday, Page will sit down with the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees, which have sought her testimony for seven months.

Page told investigators that she and Strzok were having an affair, according to a Justice Department Inspector General's report about the Clinton email investigation, and that they used their work devices to hide that from their spouses. Right?!" Strzok replied, "No. The interview will also be transcribed, too, according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Ohio.

"Would anyone sitting here today believe that this was an acceptable state of affairs, particularly at an agency whose motto is "Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity"?"

"When you said you never crossed that bright, inviolable line, what you meant to say was except for 50,000 times, except for hundreds of times a day where I went back and forth, expressing my personal opinions about "f'ing" Trump and stopping Trump and impeaching Trump on official Federal Bureau of Investigation phones, on official Federal Bureau of Investigation time", said Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas.

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. "We'll stop it", Strzok responded.

And yet some analysts couldn't help but notice a hint of irony in Republicans' argument that Strzok's personal views must have influenced his official duty, while they simultaneously conduct investigations into politicians they openly support or oppose. He said the late-night, off-the-cuff text reflected his belief that Americans would not stomach such "horrible, disgusting behavior" by the presidential candidate.

"Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took", he said. "So, I take great offence, and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn't".

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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. "We'll stop it", he said. "It simply couldn't happen".

Those remarks resulted in further interjections from Democrats, who said Gohmert was harassing Strzok and impugning the agent's character.

That compelled one colleague, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), to yell out, "Do you need your medication?"

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One member of the circus included Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a man Kimmel deemed a "buckethead". Gohmert speculated about whether he looked "so innocent" when he looked into his wife's eyes and lied about the affair.

During the marathon hearing, Democrats staunchly defended Strzok.

Strzok responded to Gohmert's questioning and attacks by saying he "always told the truth".

Gohmert was shouted at when the exchange with Strzok got personal.

"My presumption [was] based on that frightful, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States", Strzok explained.

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