"I testify today with significant regret, recognizing that my texts have created confusion and caused pain for people I love", Strzok said in his opening statement to Congress Thursday. "But unfortunately this polarization is being fostered by Mr. Trump in terms of the types of things he says and what he tweets".
Disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok delivered a fiery - and most likely well-rehearsed - speech during a joint hearing before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees Thursday morning.
Gohmert railed against Strzok for the bias he showed in his text exchanges with Lisa Page, the FBI staffer he had an affair while they worked on the investigation into the Trump campaign.
Goodlatte asked his fellow lawmakers how they would respond if they were being investigated and their investigator was found to both be opposed to their campaign and have pledged to "stop it". Gowdy blasted Strzok for saying in messages to Page that Trump was a "menace" who he would "stop", while the investigation was still in its infancy.
The hearing Thursday marked Strzok's first public testimony about his involvement in the 2016 investigations into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation and Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.
Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte, who heads the House Judiciary Committee, threatened to hold Strzok in contempt at the end of the hearing if he did not answer Gowdy's question.
Text messages between the two, including many in which Trump supporters were derided, were the subject of much debate during the hearing.
"The more information we acquire, the more interviews we conduct, and the more sources we contact, the more we learn", he said.
In his opening statement to the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Strzok condemned the Republican Party for its characterization of his private messages as evidence that his agency was biased against President Donald Trump, and for holding a hearing that he said amounted to "another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart". "That is why we're here and why this matter". "That is who we are as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the suggestion that I, in some dark chamber somewhere in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards, and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me". Strzok, a seasoned counterintelligence agent, helped lead both investigations but has since been reassigned to human resources.
Cicilline interrupted, saying that Gohmert "asserted" that a witness (Strzok) lied and again demanded he withdraw his accusation.
"My presumption, based on that awful, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States", Strzok said. "This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax".
Strzok replied that he was not under subpoena, but testifying voluntarily - and that he could not answer questions "related to the ongoing investigations being undertaken by the special counsel's office".
You don't have to like Peter Strzok, or James Comey, or Robert Mueller, or anyone else involved in these various investigations.
"I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there", Strzok said in the text. However, it ultimately concluded that these displays of bias did not impact the FBI investigations.
Former FBI attorney Lisa Page is expected to appear for a closed-door interview before House Committees Friday.