FBI agent Peter Strzok told a House hearing that FBI agents are allowed to have personal opinions regarding politics — like all Americans — while still performing their jobs without bias.
Strzok schooled Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina about private texts sent (from Strzok) to his then-girlfriend FBI agent Lisa Page about President Donald Trump’s “disgusting” attack against a Gold Star family who happen to be immigrants:
I think it’s important when you look at those texts that you understand the context in which they were made and the things that were going on across America.
In terms of the texts that “we will stop it,” you need to understand that that was written late at night, off the cuff, and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero and my presumption, based on that horrible, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect someone demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States.
It was in no way unequivocally any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So I take great offense and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn’t.
Strzok recognized that some Americans would vote for Trump despite his inappropriate behavior:
I acknowledge that is absolutely their right, that is what makes our democracy such a vibrant process that it is. But to suggest somehow we can parse down the words of shorthand, text actual conversations like they’re some contract for a car is simply not consistent with my or most people’s use of text messaging.
I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, at no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took.
Strzok explained to the Republican-controlled House that he was overseen by bureaucratic layers of oversight:
At every step, at every investigative decision, there are multiple layers of people above me, the assistant director, executive assistant director, deputy director and director of the FBI, multiple layers of people below me, section chief, supervisors, unit chiefs, case agents and analysts, all of whom were involved in all of these decisions.
They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me any more than I would tolerate it in them. That’s who we are as the FBI.
The suggestion that I and some dark chamber in the FBI would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safety safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It couldn’t happen.
The proposition that is going on, it might occur anywhere in the FBI, deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission and it is deeply destructive.
(Source: C-SPAN via YouTube)
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