FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok received loud cheers and applause after tearing into Republican lawmakers for suggesting his anti-Trump texts were proof of bias.
Strzok noted that the GOP accusation that the FBI was biased against then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign “deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.”
House Oversight Committee Democrats accuse Republicans of conducting a political charade designed to discredit the Russia investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Strzok was testifying before two House committees as a result of GOP efforts to publicly grill him about text messages he sent during the 2016 campaign that were critical of Trump, Hillary Clinton and other members of the Democratic party.
“At no time, in any of these texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took,” Strzok said, adding that “multiple layers” of agents above and below him at the bureau would have thwarted any “improper behavior.”
“They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me anymore than I would tolerate it in them,” he added. “That is who we are as the FBI, and the suggestion that I in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards, and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me.”
“The proposition that that is going on and that might occur anywhere in the FBI deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive,” Strzok said.
Strzok rejected GOP suggestions that his anti-Trump text messages are evidence that he took official action to somehow disrupt Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“That was written late at night, off the cuff and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero,” Strzok said in response to questioning from House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
“My presumption, based on that horrible, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States,” Strzok added. “It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate.”
“I take great offense and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn’t,” Strzok said.
FBI Agent Peter Strzok applauded by Democratic members of House Oversight Committee after passionate response to Rep. Trey Gowdy, saying Gowdy's accusation "deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive." pic.twitter.com/m2Hbc9kPPQ
— ABC News (@ABC) July 12, 2018