Chaos on Capi­tol Hill

At con­gres­sional hear­ing, FBI agent de­fi­antly re­jects ac­cu­sa­tions of bias

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Front Page -

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

Evan Vucci/As­so­ci­ated Press

FBI agent Peter Str­zok tes­ti­fies be­fore con­gres­sional over­sight com­mit­tees dur­ing a con­tentious hear­ing Thurs­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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