The Peter Strzok fiasco wrecks the GOP’s bogus conspiracy theory

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All the way back to late 2015 and early 2016.

Strzok also said Thursday's hearing is "is just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart", calling it "profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in".

Chalian was referring to an explosive text exchange between Strzok and Federal Bureau of Investigation official Lisa Page, with whom he was reportedly having an affair, in which Strzok called then-candidate Donald Trump's behavior "horrible" and "disgusting".

The hearing got heated when chairman Bob Goodlatte ordered Strzok to answer a question asked by congressman Trey Gowdy as Democrat committee members complained Goodlatte did not have the authority to do so.

Goodlatte threatened to hold Strzok in contempt after the committee devolved into a partisan brawl over whether Strzok could answer questions about the Russian Federation investigation.

Republicans promptly threatened to hold Strzok in contempt. Strzok then claimed he didn't have to answer the question because, despite being subpoenaed by the committee, he had previously said he would speak voluntarily.

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Strzok repeatedly refused to answer, citing the FBI's counsel's instructions not to answer questions related to the special counsel investigation. In a minutes-long retort, he called Gowdy's and his Republican allies' allegations of bias and improper actions "deeply destructive".

Representatives appealed to the chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler of NY.

"Imagine if YOU were under investigation, and the investigator hated YOU, disparaged YOU in all manner of ways, and fraternized with another employee working on YOUR case who also hated YOU, denigrated YOUR supporters and made crucial investigative decisions on how YOUR case should be treated and eventually adjudicated", Goodlatte said.

"That was being used in the context of me not knowing what it would lead to", Mr. Strzok said.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was the first to question the agent, asking Strzok how many people had been interviewed in the Russian Federation probe from July 31-Aug. 8. 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.

"Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question", said Rep.

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"...[Y] ou should put nothing in text or e-mail that you are not comfortable seeing on the front page of "The New York Times" or on CNN's banner", Chalian said during an interview on the network Thursday.

Peter Strzok (struhk) helped lead FBI investigations into Hillary Clinton's email use and potential co-ordination between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's campaign.

That set up perhaps the most pivotal moment of the ongoing hearing, as Mr Strzok attempted to defend his, and the FBI's, integrity and explained that the texts in questions came after Mr Trump insulted the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. soldier.

It reflected, he said, "my presumption, based on that terrible, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect someone demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States". "Many contained expressions of concern for the security of our country-opinions that were not always expressed in terms I am proud of.But 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".

Strzok is testifying publicly on Capitol Hill for the first time since the release of a Justice Department inspector general report that heavily criticized his comments.

The sharp tone of Strzok's statement set the stage for a contentious hearing following hours of closed-door questioning last week.

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Attorney Amy Jeffress told Fox News that Page could not appear before the committee on Wednesday because they didn't have enough time to prepare.

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