A Republican lawmaker says the testimony of former FBI attorney Lisa Page before House investigators differed greatly from her lover and bureau special agent Peter Strzok.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) told reporters Monday that Page’s closed-door testimony yielded new leads in its investigation into the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign and handling of Hillary Clinton email probe.
“I think there are significant differences between their testimony about important material facts. She gave us a lot of new information that we didn’t have before. That will lead us to ask for some more people to make some more requests for information we do not yet have,” Ratcliffe said. “On many cases, she admits that the text messages mean exactly what they say as opposed to agent Strzok, who thinks all misinterpreted his own words on any text message that might be negative.”
Rep. John Ratcliffe: Lisa Page admitted her text messages “mean exactly what they say,” contrary to Peter Strzok’s testimony. pic.twitter.com/sbUrw6bn18
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) July 17, 2018
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) echoed similar statements concerning Page’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, describing the former FBI lawyer as “certainly more cooperative than Peter Strzok.” Page provided new “pieces of information [that] filled in some blanks along the way, but we’ve got a huge jigsaw puzzle to put together,” the congressman said.
In a letter to fellow Republican investigators, King is calling on committee leaders to subpoena the personal cell phones of both Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. “I wanna see the names of everyone who interviewed Hillary Clinton on July 2, 2016,” wrote the Iowa lawmaker. “I wanna see their notes. I want to consider bringing each of them forward to testify what went on inside that room and then see if their notes and their testimony matches up to the 302 document that, in the end, was the basis that Peter Strzok briefed James Comey off of.”
Peter Strzok last Thursday testified publicly for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team following the discovery of texts last year that were traded with an FBI lawyer in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
In a chaotic hearing that spanned ten hours, the disgraced FBI agent claimed he never allowed personal opinions to affect his work, though he did acknowledge being dismayed by Donald Trump’s behavior during the campaign. Strzok also said he had never contemplated leaking damaging information he knew about the Trump campaign. “At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took,” Strzok told lawmakers.
In breaking his silence, Strzok came face-to-face with Republicans who argued that the texts had tainted two hugely consequential FBI probes he had helped steer: inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s email use and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him. That is bias.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) made Strzok read some of his texts aloud, including some with profane language. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) asked colleagues to imagine being investigated by someone who “hated you” and “disparaged you in all manner of ways.”
“Would anyone sitting here today believe that this was an acceptable state of affairs, particularly at an agency whose motto is ‘Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity?’ I think not,” Goodlatte said.
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 affected his work.
The disgraced FBI agent said the Trump investigation originated not out of personal animus but rather from concern that Russia was meddling in the election, including what he said were allegations of “extraordinary significance” of a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign member.
Echoing similar remarks made by Democratic lawmakers, Strzok said his exasperation at being the focus of a hearing when Russian election interference had successfully sowed discord in America. “I have the utmost respect for Congress’ oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart,” he told House investigators.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.