Rep. John Ratcliffe ripped into former FBI agent Peter Strzok at a joint hearing investigating allegations of political bias in the Justice Department and FBI.
The Texas Republican left Strzok nowhere to hide Thursday at the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees’ joint hearing as he obliterated his defense that he had never “crossed the line” in his professional position as an FBI agent.
“You did say that. And I heard you say similar things last week. I heard you say similar things today. You said it very clearly. You said it very unequivocally in your opening remarks that you never crossed that inviolable line in 26 years,” Ratcliffe addressed Strzok, whose infamous anti-Trump texts with former colleague and lover Lisa Page were under the microscope Thursday.
“Earlier today, in response to a question, you said, ‘I took my personal belief out of every official action.’ So, you’re asking us to believe that when you say things like ‘F’ Trump and stop Trump and impeach Trump, that those are just personal beliefs, and that when you say those things you never crossed that line, that bright inviolable line and allow it to impact your official conduct?” Ratcliffe continued. “That’s really what this comes down to that you’re asking us to believe, isn’t it?”
“Sir, I’m asking you to believe and I’m offering you evidence,” Strzok responded.
“You made it crystal clear,” the GOP lawmaker shot back.
“And it’s been found that there’s been no act of bias found anywhere,” Strzok continued.
“You have, under oath, been as clear as a bell on that. You’ve said it over and over again, and because of that I’m almost embarrassed to ask you this question,” a clearly angry Ratcliffe said. “Of the approximately 50,000 text messages that I’ve seen with your personal beliefs like ‘F’ Trump, stop Trump, impeach Trump, go ahead and confirm on the record that none of that occurred on an official FBI device or on official FBI time. Go ahead and do that.”
“Sir, no, they did. Many of them did,” Strzok admitted.
“Oh, they did?” Ratcliffe asked sarcastically.
“So what you really meant to say was that when you said you never crossed that bright inviolable line, what you meant to say was, ‘Except for 50,000 times, except for hundreds of times of day where I went back and forth expressing my personal opinions about F’ing Trump and stopping Trump and impeaching Trump on official FBI phones on official FBI. time.’ Other than that, you never crossed that line,” Ratcliffe ripped the former FBI counterintelligence agent who at times appeared to be smirking at the comments.
“I’m sure there are 13,000 FBI agents out there that are beaming with pride at how clearly you’ve drawn that line,” he continued.
“Agent Strzok, are you starting to understand why some folks out there don’t believe a word you say,” Ratcliffe asked, “and why it’s especially troubling that you of all people are at the center of the three highest profile investigations in recent time that involve President Trump and that you were in charge of an investigation investigating, gathering evidence against Donald Trump, a subject that you hated, that you wanted to ‘F’ him, to stop him, to impeach him? And do you see why that might call into question everything you’ve touched on all of those investigations?”
The congressman could take no more and told Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte he was “done with this witness.”
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