President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani blasted FBI agent Peter Strzok’s congressional testimony of in a tweet early Friday morning, calling it a “disgrace” that “taints” special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him,” Giuliani said. “All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed.”
Strzok, who has come under scrutiny for anti-Trump text messages with an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair, testified in a marathon hearing before a pair of House committees on Thursday.
Strzok was a lead agent in both the Russia probe and the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. Both Strzok and Page were booted from Mueller’s investigation last year after he discovered their texts. Strzok has since been reassigned within the FBI.
In one text, Strzok said “we’ll stop” Trump in the midst of the 2016 presidential election. That text was at the forefront of the hours long back-and-forth with Republican lawmakers Thursday.
Strzok sought to clear the air over his messages and volunteered to testify after the Justice Department inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released a report in June revealing how senior FBI officials repeatedly expressed support for Clinton and disdain for Trump during the election.
Horowitz, however, concluded that the political views of those agents did not affect the conclusions of the Clinton investigation.
In an exchange with Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, chair of the House Oversight Committee, Strzok defended his “we’ll stop” Trump text.
“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,” Strzok said.
He was referring to Trump’s mockery of the Gold Star family of Humayun Khan, who was killed fighting for the US in the Iraq war.
Strzok said “based on that horrible, disgusting behavior,” he assumed Trump would not win the election.
“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,” he said.
The hearing went off the rails at a number of points, such as when Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas asked Strzok “how many times did you look so innocently into your wife’s eye and lied to her about Lisa Page?”
In his opening statement, Strzok said the hearing would be “just another victory notch in” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s belt, as well as “another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
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