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NYT Conservative Columnist Rips Strzok Hearing: ‘Republicans Are Called the Stupid Party’

NYT Conservative Columnist Rips Strzok Hearing: ‘Republicans Are Called the Stupid Party’

House Democrats demanded that former Trump campaign chief Stephen Bannon be called to testify to Congress as a counterpoint to Thursday's hearing with embattled FBI Agent Peter Strzok.

Representative Louie Gohmert went so far as to call out Strzok over his affair with Page, while other House Republicans, including Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan and Bob Goodlatte, chastised him over what they believed was bias toward Trump during the investigations of Hillary Clinton's private email server and the Trump campaign's alleged contacts with Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign. The partisan bickering and speeches disguised as questions brought little honor to either the House Oversight or Judiciary committees in Thursday's three-ring circus masquerading as a hearing. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, got personal, calling out his relationship with Page, which was noted in the inspector general report. He told Gohmert the fact that he would say that "shows more what you stand for" than anything else.

Strzok said he could not answer a question about the early stages of the FBI investigation into Russian intervention because the probe is still ongoing and FBI counsel had instructed him not to. Strzok and Page were having an extramarital affair at the time.

"They're treating us with much more respect right now than they did in the past", Trump told reporters after a summit of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders in Brussels.

In his most direct defense of the controversial texts, Strzok said he had written them "off-the-cuff" and that it was important to view them in the context of the heated election in 2016, during which Trump engaged in numerous outrageous, racially-charged feuds - including with the family of Muslim U.S. Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Strzok repeatedly insisted the texts, including ones in which he called Trump a "disaster" and said "We'll stop" a Trump candidacy, did not reflect political bias and had not infected his work.

"Every American, every single one, has a political belief", Strzok said, and the vast majority of those don't constitute bias.

Gowdy seized on one message that has received particular attention from right-wing media outlets, an August 8, 2016, text in which Strzok, discussing with Page the prospect of a Trump win, says, "No".

He then mocked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) over an fiery exchange he had with Strzok.

On Thursday, Strzok said the message was written late at night after Trump's campaign comments disparaging a slain US soldier. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte asked colleagues to imagine being investigated by someone who "hated you" and "disparaged you in all manner of ways".

At one point, Strzok said he didn't appreciate an assertion from Gowdy, who retorted, "I don't give a damn what you appreciate".

"This information had the potential to derail and quite possibly defeat Mr. Trump, but the thought of expressing that, or exposing that information never crossed my mind", Efe quoted Mr Strzok as telling to lawmakers during a congressional hearing.

"This investigation is not politically motivated", Strzok said. "He can consult with the Federal Bureau of Investigation counsel, he's an Federal Bureau of Investigation employee".

The reaction on social media was bipartisan in its criticism of Gohmert, who has been an avid supporter of Trump as president.

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