House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) pressed disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok before Congress Thursday on a series of anti-Trump text messages he sent during the 2016 election, including one correspondence about how he could smell Trump support during a southern Virginia Walmart visit.
A partial transcript follows:
GOODLATTE: In regard to those case, was it normal behavior on your part to chat with colleagues in the manner you did on the Russia case about how much despise the very person you’re investigating or complimenting the person you’re investigating, in the Clinton case? Is that typical?
STRZOK: Sir, I would draw a distinction between commenting on case-related matters versus discussion of personal belief. I think that are very different matters than saying “this person as a witness was not credible or this person as a subject or a target did or didn’t do something.
GOODLATTE: You can completely separate out your personal opinion is from what you discussed with others in investigations?
STRZOK: I’m telling you, sir, I separated out —
GOODLATTE: But you did not do that in regard to attorney Page who was also involved in these investigations?
STRZOK: Sir, I disagree with that. I separated out my personal beliefs from any action I took as an FBI agent every day.
GOODLATTE: Do you recognize how your vitriol against President Trump makes it appear you could never approach the case in a fair-minded manner?
STRZOK: Sir, of course, I appreciate that —
GOODLATTE: So, let’s discuss this text that hits home for me. On August 26, 2016, you texted Ms. Page, quote “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart, I could smell the Trump support. Smell is in capital letters. What does Trump support smell like, Mr. Strzok?
STRZOK: Sir, that’s an expression of speech. I clearly wasn’t smelling one thing or the other. What I was commenting on was living in Northern Virginia –
GOODLATTE: What does that mean?
STRZOK: What I meant by that was living in Northern Virginia, having traveled 150 miles south within the same state, I was struck by the extraordinary difference in the expression of political opinion amongst the community there –
GOODLATTE: You described that as “smell” in capital letters —
STRZOK: Sir, that was a quick choice in a text.