House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has reportedly informed anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok he will be recalled to testify later Thursday and may be "voted in contempt" following his refusal to answer key questions surrounding his text messages.
Strzok worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to the Trump campaign, until he was removed from Mueller's team past year. Considering Democrats agree with his motivations, not to mention the way he classified Trump voters as uneducated, smelly and bigoted in text messages to his mistress, the cheers aren't surprising.
To Democrats deriding the committees for their investigation into allegations of bias at the FBI, Goodlatte said "the American people hope you will understand that this investigation goes to the very heart of our system of justice, one that is supposed to be fair and treat everyone equally under the law". "Right?!" Page texted Strzok.
Strzok played important roles in both the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server while she was secretary of state and the investigation of Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential race now run by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.
When Gowdy asked Strzok why he got kicked off the investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russian officials in order to steal the election from Hillary Clinton in 2016, the FBI agent repeatedly insisted that it wasn't because he was biased against the president.
'At no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took, ' Strzok said.
He insisted under aggressive questioning that an August 2016 text in which he said "We'll stop" a Trump presidency followed Trump's denigration of the family of a dead USA service member.
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.
One message that has received particular attention, and is likely to be discussed at the hearing, is an August 8, 2016 text in which Strzok, discussing with Page the prospect of a Trump win, says, "No". "My presumption based on that terrible, disgusting behavior [was] that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States".
During a contentious congressional hearing on Thursday, Strzok attempted to explain why he sent the message in the first place. "No he won't. We'll stop it".
"Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took", he is expected to say.
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.
The White House said President Trump is monitoring the hearing from Europe.
Stzok appeared under subpoena on Thursday before a joint session of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, where he was grilled by Republicans on inflammatory text messages he exchanged with a fellow Federal Bureau of Investigation official in 2016 that were critical of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Goodlatte told Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day" Thursday morning that Page had agreed to an interview Friday.