GOP reps threaten maligned Federal Bureau of Investigation agent with contempt in House hearing

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Ultimately Strzok responded to a question from Gowdy about the early portion of the Russian Federation investigation by defending his own work and the work of the FBI.

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.

"I don't appreciate being mischaracterized", Mr. Strzok said.

The Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has criticized Strzok and Page for creating the appearance of impropriety through the texts.

In response, Sen. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) snapped, "Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question".

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The FBI investigator was on Capitol Hill today to face questions about his controversial text messages and the allegations that his work was corrupted by bias against President Donald Trump. "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.

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep.

"That is a fantastic answer to a question nobody asked", Gowdy said.

But, he added in a raised voice and emphatic tone, "It was in no way - unequivocally - any suggestion that me, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate".

"Congressman, as you know, counsel for the FBI, based on the special counsel's equities, has instructed me not to answer questions about the ongoing investigation into Russian attempts to interfere".

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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.

In terms of the texts that 'We will stop it, ' you need to understand that that was written late at night, off the cuff, and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero and my presumption, based on that terrible, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States.

Page was subpoenaed to appear for a closed-door interview on Wednesday but defied the subpoena, saying she had not been given sufficient time to review the materials related to her testimony.

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

Goodlatte late Wednesday had threatened to begin contempt proceedings against Page if she did not agree to one of two options: Appear with Strzok for a public hearing on Thursday or show up for an interview on Friday.

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Although Strzok has said through his lawyer that he was eager to tell his side of the story, he made clear his exasperation at being the focal point of a congressional hearing at a time when Russian election interference has been successfully "sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions".

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