June 27 (UPI) — House lawmakers will question an FBI agent Wednesday who was at the center of a text messaging scandal that raised impartiality concerns in investigations of Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump.
The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees are scheduled to question agent Peter Strzok, who in his text messages was critical of then-presidential candidate Trump and other political figures. He sent the messages in 2016 and 2017 to a colleague, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, telling her they would “stop” a Trump presidency.
Republicans have criticized Strzok for the messages, which led Special Counsel Robert Mueller to remove him from his team investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“It’s one thing to say ‘Trump’s awful.’ It’s another thing to say ‘We’re going to stop him,’ especially when those statements are made within 15 days, just days after you’ve launched an investigation into that individual,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told CNN.
Judiciary committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said the panel has a “lot of questions” about “apparent bias” against Trump in Strzok’s messages.
Strzok has denied acting to prevent Trump from being elected and told the Justice Department if he’d wanted to hurt the president’s campaign, he would not have kept quiet about the investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians in the months before the election.
Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, said his client “played by the rules” and has been subject to “political games.”
Earlier this month, Trump said he felt the Mueller investigation had been “discredited” by the discovery of the text messages.