Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok denies bias at hearing full of fireworks

Controversial FBI official to testify about private text messages on Trump

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate has repeatedly challenged Mueller's appointment and claimed no collusion took place between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, while personally attacking Mueller and any findings of his probe.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for engaging in "large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election". "But", he said, "the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind".

Strzok struck a combative tone throughout the hearing, telling congressmen, "Today's hearing is just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart".

Strzok, a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation official who oversaw counterintelligence cases, was removed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election after Justice Department investigators discovered text messages between him and Lisa Page, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer, that were critical of President Trump.

As Gohmert went through his speaking time at a hearing on Thursday with the agent accused of anti-Trump bias, the Texas Republican sparred with another lawmaker, who called his statements a "disgrace".

"Well, hang on a second, Agent Strzok!"

"I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there", Strzok said in the text.

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For of more Strzok's testimony, this video thread from Think Progress' Aaron Rupar is a great resource.

Strzok denied that his political views expressed in the texts affected his professional work on Thursday, and Page also said there was "no bias" affecting her conduct, according to Jackson Lee.

Mr Strzok's case has been used by the president and many Republicans to discredit Mueller's investigation on alleged ties between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin.

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".

"What I am telling you is I and the other men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, every day take our personal beliefs, and set those aside in vigorous pursuit of the truth - wherever it lies, whatever it is".

Strzok said under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he vowed "we'll stop" a Trump candidacy followed Trump's denigration of the family of a dead USA service member.

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