Chaos on Capitol Hill
At congressional hearing, FBI agent defiantly rejects accusations of bias
WASHINGTON — An embattled FBI agent whose anti-Trump text messages exposed the Justice Department to claims of institutional bias vigorously defended himself Thursday at an extraordinary congressional hearing that devolved into shouting matches, finger-pointing and veiled references to personal transgressions.
Agent Peter Strzok testified publicly for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team following the discovery of texts last year that were traded with an FBI lawyer in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
In a chaotic hearing that spanned 10 hours, he insisted he never allowed personal opinions to affect his work, though he did acknowledge being dismayed by now-President Donald Trump’s behavior during the campaign. He also said he had never contemplated leaking damaging information he knew about the Trump campaign and called the hearing “just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s belt.”
“At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took,” Agent Strzok told lawmakers.
In breaking his silence, Agent Strzok came face-to-face with Republicans who argued that the texts had tainted two hugely consequential FBI probes he had helped steer: inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s email use and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White
FBI agent Peter Strzok testifies before congressional oversight committees during a contentious hearing Thursday in Washington.