Appearing on MSNBC, former CIA Director John Brennan expressed his disgust with a Republican-led grilling of Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok, calling it "mockery of the oversight function", adding "Vladimir Putin must be very happy".
In his opening remarks, Strzok defended Mueller's work and emphasized the threat of Russian election interference, clearly referencing the president in saying, "This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax". He said the texts reflected purely personal opinions that he never once acted on, though he did acknowledge being dismayed during the campaign by the Republican candidate's behavior.
"You're under oath, I want you to say yes or no", Connolly told Strzok during the hearing.
"Counsel of the FBI has directed me not to answer any questions about the ongoing investigations". The interview will also be transcribed, too, according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Ohio.
It is point that has been largely brushed aside in Trump-friendly media circles, with a text Strzok sent to Page in May 2017 also receiving comparatively little scrutiny.
Strzok again stated he could not answer and Goodlatte said the Committee would consider a contempt citation.
Strzok declined to answer a question from Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, about interviews he conducted during the FBI's Russian Federation probe, saying the agency had directed him not to discuss ongoing investigations. "That is who we are as the FBI", Strzok said. Democrats are interrupting constantly, grandstanding pearl clutching, and engaging in some of the worst hypocrisy in recent memory.
Page told investigators that she and Strzok were having an affair, according to a Justice Department Inspector General's report about the Clinton email investigation, and that they used their work devices to hide that from their spouses.
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The hearing was often raucous and seemed at times more like a TV comedy about Congress than a real committee hearing.
The ranking Democrat on the panel, Jerrold Nadler of NY, urged Republicans not to use the Strzok hearing to attack special counsel Robert Mueller. This is nothing but a ruse to try to get to the Mueller investigation and make people think it's baseless, that it's biased.
With the Congressional hearings freshly ended, The Five co-host Jesse Watters asked the panel if Republicans "landed any solid blows today on Peter Strzok that shed light on any of his activities with regard to the Trump-Russia investigation?" In it, Strzok describes his reluctance to work on behalf of the special counsel, and that seemed to imply he didn't think there would be substantial findings of collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign team.
"Let me be clear", Strzok told more than three dozen members of Congress, as if his online activity hadn't been clear enough. And I said, you know, I'm aware of that.
Strzok testified before the House in a closed-door hearing in June, where Republicans railed against his credibility in claiming that his texts with Page were not evidence that he meant to block Trump from the presidency, as his critics have said an August 2016 message suggests.
As the eighth hour of the hearing was underway, Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) brought up an earlier, tense faceoff between Strzok and Gowdy over comments Trump had made during the 2016 campaign about a Gold Star military family.
To recap, Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation and harshly criticized by an inspector general. Within the FBI, those officials were often referred to as the "skinny group" because then-FBI Director James Comey and others sought to keep a tight grip on details of those investigations.