Dem Rep Connolly Quotes Anti-Trump Attacks from Republicans to Defend Strzok

During a hearing with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) read off a list of emails from several so-called Never Trump Republicans criticizing then candidate-Donald Trump in the 2016 election to defend disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok

Instead of questioning Strzok over his anti-Trump text messages he exchanged with then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, Connolly took the opportunity to read off emails from several Republican House and Senate members exchanged during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Exchange as follows:

CONNOLLY: So you’re under oath, I want you to say yes or no. The following email: “Character matters, @realDonaldTrump is obviously not going to win but he can still make an honorable move, step aside and let someone else try.”

Did you write that email?

STRZOK: No, I didn’t.

CONNOLLY: No, you didn’t. Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) wrote that email.

Connolly called Sasse’s email an “unforgivable sin,” and suggested that the Nebraska senator should be the one testifying instead of Strzok.

Exchange continues:

CONNOLLY: “My wife Julia and I. We have a 15-year-old daughter. Do you think I can look her in the eye and tell her that I endorsed Donald Trump? When he acts like this, and his apology, that was no apology. That was an apology for getting caught. I can’t tell the good people of my state that I endorsed a person who acts like this,” Was that you, Mr. Strzok?

STRZOK: No sir.

CONNOLLY: No it wasn’t, it was Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the former chairman of my committee.

CONNOLLY: Did you write the following? For the good of the country, and to give Republicans a chance at defeating Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump should step aside. His defeat at this point seems almost certain. And four years of Hillary Clinton is not what’s best for this country. Mr. Trump should put this country first and do the right thing. That’s you, certainly, right?

STRZOK: No sir.

CONNOLLY: No, you’re right, it was Republican member of Congress Rep. Mike Cochran from Colorado.

The Virginia Democrat continued reading the emails, specifically one from a member of Congress in his home state:

CONNOLLY: “In light of these comments, Donald Trump should step aside and allow our party to replace him with Mike Pence or an appropriate nominee. I cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump, and I would never vote for Hillary Clinton,” that’s yours?

STRZOK: No sir.

CONNOLLY: No that’s Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock of our home state of Virginia.

Connolly continued reading down the list of emails, specifically highlighting those from members asking Trump to “step aside” as a presidential candidate and criticizing his behavior on the campaign trail.

CONNOLLY: “It’s now clear that Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States, and cannot defeat Hillary Clinton. I believe he should step aside and allow Gov. Pence to lead the Republican ticket,” you wrote that one?

STRZOK: No sir.

CONNOLLY: You didn’t? No, you’re right, that’s Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama.

“Donald Trump’s behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president. And I won’t vote for him. As disappointed as I’ve been with his antics throughout this campaign, I thought supporting the nominee was the best thing for our country and our party. Now it’s abundantly clear that the best thing for our country and our party is for Trump to step aside and allow responsible, respectable Republicans to lead the ticket,” You wrote that one?

STRZOK: No sir.

CONNOLLY: Oh no, that was Republican Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama.

Well, how about this one. I respectfully ask that you, Mr. Trump, with all due respect, step aside, step down. Allow someone else to carry the banner of principles. You wrote that one.

STRZOK: No sir.

CONNOLLY: Right again. That was Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

After Connolly read the list of emails, he claimed that Strzok was in “good company” of these Republicans, and reassured him that his opinion was not unusual for where he lives.

Not everyone on the committee went easy on Strzok. At one point during the hearing, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) ordered Strzok to read his texts containing anti-Trump sentiments aloud to the committee.

Follow Katherine Rodriguez on Twitter @krod315


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