FBI agent Peter Strzok testifies about anti-Trump texts: LIVE UPDATES

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July 12, 2018 2:57 pm Published by

Peter Strzok, the FBI agent whose anti-Trump texts cost him his job on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, is expected to get grilled by House Republicans Thursday as he testifies for the first time in public at a joint hearing before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.

In his opening remarks, Strzok plans to tell lawmakers that his texts “have created confusion and caused pain for people I love” and “have provided ammunition for misguided attacks against the FBI, an institution I love deeply and have served proudly for more than 20 years.”

As he concluded his remarks, he took a shot at Republicans who have harshly criticized him, saying they were helping Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity,” Strzok said.

“I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I strongly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

The committees are looking at the actions of the FBI and Justice Department during the 2016 presidential campaign.

President Donald Trump and his supporters have cited Strzok’s texts with his former FBI colleague Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair, as evidence of political bias within the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Strzok’s appearance comes as House Republicans have demanded testimony from Page after she did not comply with a subpoena to appear before the committee for a closed-door interview on Wednesday. Strzok, who led the Hillary Clinton email investigation, spoke to the committee behind closed doors last month for almost 11 hours.

Follow along for live updates.

10:25AM – Committee chairman tears into Strzok texts in opening statement

In his opening statement, Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., ripped both Strzok and others at the FBI, claiming they compromised the public’s faith in the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

“Mr. Strzok and others inside the FBI and DOJ turned our system of justice on its head,” Goodlatte said. “That is why we’re here and why this matters.”

Goodlatte encouraged Democrats on the joint panel to “replace President Trump’s name with your own name in a small sample of things Mr. Strzok has said,” before reading off a list of some of Strzok’s most controversial texts.

“’F Trump,’ ‘Trump is a disaster,’ ‘Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support’ – or, perhaps most alarmingly and revealingly, ‘We’ll stop it’ – referring directly to Mr. Trump’s candidacy for President,” Goodlatte said.

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., shot back at Goodlatte, arguing that the committee should be spending its time focused on what he says are “other emergencies” the nation faces.

“We ought to be holding hearings” on families separated at U.S. border, Nadler said. “It’s of more immediate concern than this hearing, certainly.”

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