Peter Strzok, the FBI counterintelligence agent removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation over anti-Trump bias, appeared before a closed door session in front of two House committees on Wednesday, where he tried to explain anti-Trump text exchanges with his FBI mistress as "Just an intimate conversation between intimate friends," according to Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, quoting Strzok's description of the controversial messages.
While Jackson Lee gladly accepted Strzok's answer, Republican Mark Meadows of North Carolina wasn't buying it:
While Jackson Lee said she believed Strzok’s account that his “intimate” messages didn’t reflect political bias in his work, Republican Representative Mark Meadows said, “None of my concerns about political bias have been alleviated based on what I’ve heard so far.” -Bloomberg
“If you have intimate personal conversations between two people, that normally would show the intent more so than perhaps something that would be said out in public,” said Meadows.
Meadows said that some of the questions on Wednesday revolved around "who knew what when - and what was the genesis of the Russia collusion investigation," into Trump's campaign.
Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) wasn't buying it either, as Sara Carter details: "It was a waste—Strzok is full of it and he kept hiding behind [the] classified information excuse."
Others had similarly disappointed reactions: Freedom Caucus & Judiciary Committee member, Matt Gaetz (R-FL) attended today’s deposition and reacted to Strzok’s testimony, telling the Sean Hannity Radio Show, that “… I am shocked at the lack of curiosity with Robert Mueller. I mean Sean, if you were in Mueller’s shoes, and you had found these text messages, I would think that you would want to ask whether or not they impacted the investigative decisions that were made, whether there was bias, whether there was contact with other members of the FBI regarding the investigation and where it was going and who was making the critical judgment calls,” the Florida Congressman said. “I just cannot believe the lack of curiosity on the part of Robert Mueller. It was the strongest reaction I had today from Peter Strzok’s testimony.”
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Strzok and his paramour Lisa Page - known as the FBI "lovebirds" - harbored extreme political bias for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump while actively involved in cases against each candidate during the 2016 US election.
Their raging hatred of Donald Trump was discovered in a trove of over 50,000 texts between Strzok and Page which were discovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. While Strzok was relegated to the HR department and marched out of his FBI office in mid-June, Page tendered her resignation in May.
In one of the most controversial text exchanges - perhaps because the DOJ withheld it until it came to light in the Inspector Genera's report, Page asks Strzok whether Trump will ever become President:
Page: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
“Several FBI employees Who played critical roles in the investigation sent political messages,” IG report says.— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 14, 2018
It cites Lisa Page text to Peter Strzok: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
After the Inspector Genera's report came out in mid-June, President Trump tweeted: "The IG Report totally destroys James Comey and all of his minions including the great lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who started the disgraceful Witch Hunt against so many innocent people."
The IG Report totally destroys James Comey and all of his minions including the great lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who started the disgraceful Witch Hunt against so many innocent people. It will go down as a dark and dangerous period in American History!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2018
The Judiciary Committee will be meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday to discuss the OIG report. Moreover, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio is expected to bring a House floor vote demanding that the DOJ turn over documents.
Also Thursday, a Republican resolution demanding that Rosenstein and the Justice Department turn over more internal documents is expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote. It will be a test of how widely Republicans back the push by party conservatives to probe inner workings of the FBI and Justice Department and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the continuing Russia probe. -Bloomberg
"All we are asking for are documents we deserve to get -- and they are giving us the finger," said Jordan.
Meanwhile, every Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to protest Jordan's resolution on "emergency bias," as they say that it shows the committee "has been hijacked by its most extreme majority members at the expense of upholding longstanding committee rules and minority rights."
It was not exactly clear how Congress asking the DOJ to see documents related to a massive political scandal constitute a hijacking.