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Controversial FBI official to testify about private text messages on Trump

FBI agent Peter P. Strzok front arrives for a House Judiciary Committee meeting June 27 in Washington DC

An embattled Federal Bureau of Investigation agent whose anti-Trump text messages exposed the Justice Department to claims of institutional bias vigorously defended himself at an extraordinary congressional hearing that devolved into shouting matches, finger-pointing and veiled references to personal transgressions. "I can assure you Mr. Chairman, at no time in any of these texts did these personal beliefs ever enter the realm of any action I've taken".

Committee members sought to question Strzok about the texts and to determine how, if at all, his anti-Trump bias impacted the investigations.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was "a stupid and ridiculous hearing".

"I don't think you'll have any, 'Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me".

Goodlatte threatened to hold Strzok in contempt at the end of the hearing if he did not answer Gowdy's question. "It's mandatory." Page served as the deputy counsel to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and worked briefly for the Mueller team, but was taken off the special counsel's staff when the text messages were discovered.

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"They behaved like children", Jolly said on MSNBC.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is advising the president, said he's willing to bet "two or three" of members of Robert Mueller's special counsel staff investigating alleged Trump-Russia collusion have texted "horrible things" about Trump, noted ivestigative reporter Sara Carter.

The hearing opened with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC, chairman of the Oversight Committee, asking Strzok how many people he interviewed in the first eight days of the investigation.

Democrats led by top Judiciary Committee Democrat Jerrold Nadler of NY on Friday continued to cast the Republican-driven effort as a campaign to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian meddling and whether anyone in the Trump campaign was involved in it.

In one text, Page asked Strzok if Trump was going to be president. 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. Earlier, Strzok claimed "at no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took" in the FBI's probe of links between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

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The same House panels grilled Strzok for 10 hours the day prior, an exchange that frequently devolved into shouting matches as Democrats and Republicans argued about the fairness of questions posed to him.

On Thursday, Strzok said the message was written late at night after Trump's campaign comments disparaging a slain USA soldier. The Justice Department, in a letter to both committees over the weekend, said it had "substantially complied" with their requests for documents and information, and was working to fulfill outstanding requests.

On Friday, Page will sit down with the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees, which have sought her testimony for seven months.

"There is significant new information she has provided, ' he told CNN, noting she was a 'very credible witness". "But", he said, "the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind".

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