Peter Strzok repeatedly denied that his own political and partisan biases shaped his conduct as an FBI agent during Thursday testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“Let me be clear, unequivocally, and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending our nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” said Strzok during his opening remarks. “This is true for the Clinton email investigation, for the investigation into Russian interference, and for every other investigation I’ve worked on. It is not who I am and it is not something I would ever do. Period.”
Text messages exchanged between Strzok and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page revealed hostility towards then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters.
Strzok described his political and partisan opinions as rooted in patriotism: “Those opinions were expressed out of deep patriotism and an unyielding belief in our great American democracy.”
Strzok said personal political and partisan biases do not affect FBI agents’ conduct: “The FBI has a culture … everything we do is dedicated to pursuit of the facts where they lay, and applying the law to those facts. There is no room for personal belief. It is something that is anathema to us. It is simply something culturally that doesn’t occur.”
He also said, “The fact is, after months of investigations there is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions.”
Strzok framed himself as a man of professional integrity. He claimed to belong to a small cadre of government officials aware of the “Russian interference investigation” in the summer of 2016 — privileged information he said was not shared with the news media.
He remarked, “There is, however, one extraordinary piece of evidence supporting my integrity, the integrity of the FBI, and our lack of bias. In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign. 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.”
Strzok added, “I’m so proud of the bureau, and I’m particularly proud of the work that I and many others did on the Clinton email investigation. Our charge was to investigate it competently, honestly, and independently, and that’s exactly what happened.”
He continued, “I’m also proud of our work on the Russian interference investigation. This is an investigation into a direct attack by a foreign adversary, and it is no less so simply because it was launched against our Democrat process rather than against a military base. This is something that all Americans of all political persuasions should be alarmed by. In the summer of 2016, we had an urgent need to protect the integrity of an American presidential election from a hostile foreign power determined to weaken and divide America.”
Strzok praised the “Russian interference investigation” now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “This investigation is not politically motivated,” he said. “It is not a witch hunt. It is not a hoax.”
Strzok framed “Russian interference” in American elections as a primary national security threat: “The honest truth is that Russian interference in our elections constitutes a grave attack on our democracy. Most disturbingly, it has been wildly successful, sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions.”
“I strongly believe today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemy’s campaign to tear America apart,” he testified.
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