Democrats Obstruct Peter Strzok Hearing, Demand Steve Bannon Be Subpoenaed

13 Juillet, 2018, 00:52 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departs after a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in June 2017

"I urge our chairmen to change course and to keep their promises to protect the integrity of the special counsel's investigation", Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in his opening statement Thursday.

The exchange between Gowdy - an outspoken Republican who rose to prominence over his handling of the congressional Benghazi hearings - and Strzok on Thursday ended with Strzok erupting into an impassioned monologue about how his personal texts did not interfere with any investigation, and blasting any attempt to use concerns about his texts to undermine confidence in the FBI. All the way back to late 2015 and early 2016.

But Jordan cut him off: "Got it".

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.

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

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.

During his time, Gohmert had repeatedly asked Strozk questions about the Hillary Clinton private email server probe that he headed up but Strzok said he could not recall much of what the congressman was asking.

Republicans appealed to Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler of NY. And FBI Counsel has instructed him not to answer the question.

"Imagine if YOU were under investigation, and the investigator hated YOU, disparaged YOU in all manner of ways, and fraternized with another employee working on YOUR case who also hated YOU, denigrated YOUR supporters and made crucial investigative decisions on how YOUR case should be treated and eventually adjudicated", Goodlatte said.

"And the chairman is not being proper!"

Gowdy sparred with Strzok in a combative line of questioning that led to an extended argument between leaders of the committee during the public hearing.

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"Furthermore, this isn't just me sitting here telling you, you don't have to take my word for it", Strzok said in a lengthy statement that ended with applause from Democrats.

"I don't give a damn what you appreciate Agent Strzok", Gowdy responded.

He insisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation had good cause two years ago to start investigating whether the Trump campaign was working with the Kremlin amid allegations of what he described as a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign associate.

In one 2016 text exchange, Page wrote: "He's not ever going to become president, right?"

The last part of comment, referencing the extramarital affair between Strzok and Page, prompted jeers from others on the committee, including one person who could be heard saying, "This is outrageous".

But that's unlikely to be the focus of Thursday's hearing.

Democrats immediately challenged Goodlatte, accusing him of treating Strzok unfairly and seeking unsuccessfully to adjourn the hearing.

What was the legal basis for an investigation of a presidential campaign?

Cohen went on to describe the hearing as "an attack on you and a way to attack [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller and the investigation that is to get at Russian collusion involved in our elections, which is what this committee should be looking at".

"To my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, please replace President Trump's name with your own name in a small sample of things Mr. Strzok has said", he said.

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