GOP chairman calls out Democrats in opening statement of Strzok hearing

Peter Strzok the FBI agent facing criticism following a series of anti Trump text messages walks to gives a deposition before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Strzok whose anti-Trump

Peter Strzok opened the hearing with a short, yet powerful statement, bringing the President's own rhetoric into his message, and throwing it back into his face.

Still, Strzok admitted, his late-night texts may have been "blunt" and "hyperbolic"-they included such impartial reflections as "Trump is a disaster" and "We'll stop it" and "Hillary should win, one hundred million to zero"-and he allowed that they may have "created confusion and caused pain for people I love".

Strzok called it "horrible and disgusting behaviour", and said he was stating his opinion the electorate would "stop" a candidate like that.

Congress' remedy, if it wants Strzok to answer the question, is to persuade the Justice Department that it's entitled to an answer.

Strzok's appearance at a joint hearing of the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees was highly charged from the very first question, as he faced off against GOP lawmakers who have long denounced his conduct.

"We want the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice to be off the front pages and to return to doing what they are best at - battling crime, terrorism, and espionage and protecting all of us from harm", Goodlatte said.

Goodlatte threatened the witness with contempt over his refusal to answer the question, prompting angry responses from Democrats and demands for "points of order" and that the hearing be adjourned.

"We have indulged this harassment [for] nine minutes", Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, interjected at one point during Gowdy's questioning.

Calling the hearing a "new low", he condemned the whole affair.

Strzok, who has been at the bureau for more than 20 years and previously served in the U.S. Army, played critical roles in the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the bureau's then-secretive probe of ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

See how fans celebrated Croatia's World Cup semifinal win in Zagreb
There is still reason to win the third-place play-off though, not least to prove that they can beat England once again. Hyde Park was a mess as everyone went home. "It's been great to get to this stage but we wanted to go on and win it".

Strzok's statement also denied that political considerations have ever affected his official acts as an investigator.

Thursday's hearing, which was the first public appearance Strzok has made since he became a central figure in the Russian Federation investigation, underscored the deep tensions on Capitol Hill over the FBI's investigations connected to the 2016 election.

"But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind", Strzok said.

In a raucous scene, Democrats objected to Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte's (R., Va.) attempts to get Strzok to answer a question by Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) about the Russian Federation investigation.

This prompted Gohmert in turn to raise his voice, turn to Strzok and say, "No, the disgrace is what this man has done to our justice system".

That set up perhaps the most pivotal moment of the ongoing hearing, as Mr Strzok attempted to defend his, and the FBI's, integrity and explained that the texts in questions came after Mr Trump insulted the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. soldier.

The ranking Democrat on the panel, Jerrold Nadler of NY, urged Republicans not to use the Strzok hearing to attack special counsel Robert Mueller.

A memorable moment of political theater came even before Strzok spoke - during opening remarks by ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Strzok told lawmakers that he never attempted to use his power to try and prevent then-candidate Trump from winning the presidency.

Peter Strzok, who once worked on an FBI investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information, has become a target for Republicans trying to show the FBI is biased against Trump. He is testifying publicly Thursday for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team following the discovery of the text messages.

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