This is the FBI agent that Trump derisively refers to as “Loverboy.”
Courtesy of the AP:
An FBI agent whose anti-Trump text messages fueled suspicions of partisan bias will tell lawmakers Thursday that his work has never been tainted by politics and that the intense scrutiny he is facing represents “just another victory notch in Putin’s belt,” according to prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.
Peter Strzok, who helped lead FBI investigations into Hillary Clinton’s email use and potential coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign, was testifying publicly for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team following the discovery of the derogatory text messages last year.
He will say in his opening statement that he has never allowed personal opinions to infect his work, that he knew information during the campaign that had the potential to damage Trump but never contemplated leaking it and that the focus on him by Congress is misguided and plays into “our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
In the prepared remarks, Strzok acknowledges that while his text message criticism was “blunt,” it was not directed at one person or political party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders. He said there was “simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions.”
“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,” he will say.
He says that he was one of the few people during the 2016 election who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with people in the Trump orbit, and that that information could have derailed Trump’s election chances. “But,” he said, “the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”
And that is really the thing, isn’t it?
If Peter Strzok HAD leaked about the Trump investigation during the campaign that might actually have damaged Trump’s chances of winning, but instead he remained quiet while most people agree that James Comey DID sabotage the Clinton campaign when he announced the reopening of her email investigation.
However, this is how the House Republicans are hoping to undermine the Mueller probe, by vilifying the FBI agent who was once assigned to the initial investigation.
Trump even took a break from embarrassing America overseas to tweet about Strzok’s former girlfriend:
As I head out to a very important NATO meeting, I see that FBI Lover/Agent Lisa Page is dodging a Subpoena & is refusing to show up and testify. What can she possibly say about her statements and lies. So much corruption on the other side. Where is the Attorney General? @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2018
If the House Republicans are looking for a witch hunt all they will have to do is take a moment to clean their glasses and then focus right on this hearing today.
And there you have it.
P.S. I wrote this post before the hearing had started this morning, but it is WAY more of a shit show than even I could have anticipated.
Here is but one example.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 12, 2018
This was in response to some unbelievably contentious questioning from Trey “Benghazi” Gowdy.
Update: Here is the surreal moment when Rep. Louie Gohmert actually attempted to shame Strzok over his extramarital affair in defense of Donald Trump.
Here’s that Gohmert moment. Watch it all. (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/sgjx60y3lm
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 12, 2018
I know, right?