Strzok says Trump's attacks on Gold Star family prompted texts

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with the leaders of the Baltic states

"I want to know what "it" meant, Agent Strzok", Gowdy said.

That exchange prompted an exasperated Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline to speak up, saying, "Can't [Strzok] answer the questions that you promised he would have an opportunity to answer?" Unsurprisingly, the hearing quickly devolved into a circus, with members yelling at each other, overlapping points of order, and a general sense of chaos.

He said in his opening statement that his work has never been tainted by politics and the intense scrutiny he faces represents "just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's belt".

Strzok worked on FBI investigations into both Clinton's use of an email server and potential co-ordination between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign.

Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe earlier this year after his texts were revealed.

Today was one of those times, as FBI agent Peter Strzok testified in a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, the latest chapter in the saga of Republican attempts to prove that any and all investigation into Russia's attempt to manipulate the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's eager cooperation with that effort is a "witch hunt".

Gowdy pressed Strzok on the texts during the back-and-forth, at one point telling the FBI agent that it's "no wonder Bob Mueller kicked you off the investigation".

Strzok said the text message he sent Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Lisa Page promising to stop then-candidate Trump wasn't about blocking Trump's path to the Oval Office, but a reaction to Trump's "horrible, disgusting behavior". "We'll stop it", Strzok responded.

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Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Oversight Committee chair, added, "Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her. Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him". "But to suggest somehow we can parse down the words of shorthand, text actual conversations like they're some contract for a vehicle is simply not consistent with my or most people's use of text messaging".

One of those agents was Peter Strzok, the man who "oversaw the opening of the Russian Federation investigation". It simply couldn't happen. The text and emails may have been discovered in May of 2017, but the bias existed and was manifest a year and a half before that. Strzok said, but was cut off by Gowdy.

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.

Strzok also expressed regret for the messages he and Page exchanged, but emphasized that his personal opinions did not impact any of his official actions. Right?!" to which Strzok replied, "No.

The controversial texts first came to light in December, when it was revealed that special counsel Robert Mueller dismissed Strzok from his team the previous summer upon learning of the messages.

Strzok said there were multiple levels above him and below him at the FBI during the probes, dismissing the idea that he could have influenced either investigation based on a political bias.

Strzok appeared before lawmakers in Congress last month for a closed-door interview.

In an interview with investigators with the Justice Department's Inspector General, Page said she was "totally appalled that the President would insult the father of a dead service member". Strzok, who has already spoken to the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees behind closed doors, is expected to testify publicly before the panels Thursday.

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