Lawmaker Decries Republican Grilling of FBI Agent Peter Strzok as 'Orwellian': Report
Congressional Republicans are obsessed with doing whatever they can to undermine the special counsel's investigation into President Donald Trump, and on Wednesday, they focused in on one of their favorite targets: FBI agent Peter Strzok.
In what one Democratic lawmaker described as "Orwellian" and "Kafka-esque" to reporter Katie Bo Williams of the Hill, lawmakers grilled Strzok behind closed doors about his involvement in both the Russia investigation and the probe into Hilary Clinton's emails use.
Strzok became the right's favorite boogeyman in the story when private text messages were released revealing that he frequently expressed disdain for Trump prior to the election. The recent inspector general report about the email probe criticized him, in particular, for one text in which he said "we'll stop" Trump from being elected. Though the report criticized him for bias, it said there was no evidence that his bias had a consequential outcome on either investigation.
Nevertheless, Republicans have insisted on dragging his name through the mud and insinuating that he was somehow scheming against Trump, even though the fact of the Russia investigation wasn't made public until after the election.
Strzok reportedly made this same point, according to CNN: "Strzok told Justice Department investigators that despite his private messages, had he actually wanted to prevent Trump from being elected, he would not have maintained confidentiality about the investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians in the months before the election.
Democrats and Republicans gave conflicting reports about whether the Strzok interview yielded any novel information.
"Asked if they’ve learned anything new not in the IG report, [Rep. Elijah Cummins (D-MD)] flatly says 'no.' He says Republicans frequently cut off Strzok when he was giving his responses," Williams reported.
However, she also noted: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) "tells reporters that they have uncovered new information not contained in the OIG report in the course of the Strzok interview so far, but declines to provide details."
CNN's Jeremy Herb reported that the interview only ended after 11 hours.