Peter Strzok, the FBI agent removed from the Mueller probe following the discovery of anti-Trump text messages, is ready to testify before Congress.
Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, told the Washington Post Sunday that his client intends to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, along with other Congressional committees, without immunity. Goelman also says Strzok will not invoke his Fifth Amendment rights while testifying.
The FBI agent “wants the chance to clear his name and tell his story,” Goelman said, later adding his client “thinks that his position, character and actions have all been misrepresented and caricatured, and he wants an opportunity to remedy that.”
In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Goelman wrote Strzok has been “fully cooperative” with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and “intends to voluntarily appear and testify before your committee and any other Congressional committee that invites him.”
The highly-anticipated Justice Department Inspector General report released this week concluded Strzok had a “biased state of mind,” while probing Hillary Clinton’s personal email usage, highlighted in various text messages between himself and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Strzok was removed from the Russia probe in the summer of 2017 after the department found out about the texts. Page only briefly worked on Mueller’s team and left before the texts were discovered.
Texts between the two included their observations of the 2016 election and criticism of Trump. They used words like “idiot,” “loathsome,” “menace,” and “disaster” to describe him. In one text four days before the election, Page told Strzok that the “American presidential election, and thus, the state of the world, actually hangs in the balance.”
Many of the texts had already been made public after the FBI sent them to Congress. But in a new, inflammatory text revealed in the report, Page wrote Strzok in August 2016: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok responded: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
“Peter Strzok should not have a job anywhere near our Justice Department,” said North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican who is close to Trump, after a briefing on the report. The House Judiciary Committee said Thursday they would subpoena Strzok to testify.
The inspector general’s report said that exchange “is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects. This is antithetical to the core values of the FBI and the Department of Justice.”
President Donald Trump weighed in on the report Saturday, tweeting the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe “will go down as a dark and dangerous period in American History!”