Tags: Trump Administration | Republican | Strzok | political | texts

Republicans Take Aim at FBI Agent Strzok Over Political Texts

Republicans Take Aim at FBI Agent Strzok Over Political Texts
Peter Strzok (AP)

Tuesday, 19 June 2018 02:36 PM

House Republicans again blasted FBI agent Peter Strzok on Tuesday for disparaging Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign in text messages uncovered during an investigation of the FBI's handling of Hillary Clinton's email.

In the second congressional hearing this week on the topic, Republicans said the texts by Strzok, who worked on the Clinton probe and briefly on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, raise questions about whether the American public can trust the FBI.

"There were FBI agents and attorneys who decided to prejudge the outcome of the Hillary Clinton case before the investigation ended ... and these exact same FBI agents and attorneys prejudged the outcome of the Russia investigation before it even began," said Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee.

Tuesday's hearing comes after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a 500-page report last week on the FBI's missteps in handling the investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

The report faulted former FBI Director James Comey for announcing shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential election that he was reopening the Clinton investigation after new emails were discovered on the computer of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner. It concluded there was no political bias at play in the decisions made in the Clinton probe.

Trump fired Comey less than four months into his presidency, initially citing Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation as the reason.

The Horowitz report criticized Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair, and several other unnamed agents for sending politically charged texts. In one exchange, Page asked Strzok if Trump really was going to be president and he responded, "No, he's not. We'll stop it."

Horowitz said the texts created the appearance of bias, and his office could not rule out whether those private views may have influenced Strzok's decision in the fall of 2016 to prioritize the investigation of possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign over the need to review new emails discovered in the Clinton investigation.

Strzok has denied he let bias impact his decisions and his lawyer has said Strzok is willing to testify before Congress.

But his texts have now become a talking point for Republicans - especially Trump - claiming bias in the Russia investigation.

"On February and March of 2016, Peter Strzok said Trump's abysmal, Trump's an idiot, he's a bleeping idiot," Republican Representative Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump ally, said at the hearing. "Hillary should win 100 million to zero. It sounds like he hates the president."

"His text messages would certainly leave that as the implication," Horowitz replied.

Democrats accused Republicans on Tuesday of cherry-picking parts of the report to attack Mueller and Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler said the FBI's missteps actually helped Trump, not Clinton.

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee went over the report on Monday with Democrats pressing Justice Department officials about whether some FBI agents may have leaked damaging information about Clinton to Rudy Giuliani, now a part of Trump's legal team, shortly before the election. 

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Politics
House Republicans again blasted FBI agent Peter Strzok on Tuesday for disparaging Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign in text messages uncovered during an investigation of the FBI's handling of Hillary Clinton's email.
Republican, Strzok, political, texts
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2018-36-19
Tuesday, 19 June 2018 02:36 PM
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