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Republicans finally got an opportunity to publicly grill former Federal Bureau of Investigation official Peter Strzok about the anti-Trump text messages he sent during the 2016 election.

Louie Gohmert caused an uproar at a congressional hearing Thursday when he accused an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent of lying under oath and asked him "how many times" did he look "so innocently into [his] wife's eyes and lie to her" about a marital affair. "And I've talked to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents around the country".

"It's just an outrage that people in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI that I spent most of my adult life and loved what we did for the American people, you know, can promote somebody with all these character flaws to such a high position", he said.

Strzok implored Republicans to appreciate the context of his text, which was sent late at night, shortly after the Republican nominee had "insulted the immigrant family of a fallen war hero" (i.e., the family of Khizr Muazzam Khan, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention).

"The credibility of a witness is always an issue", Gohmert said, as the committee fell into momentary chaos. He was removed from the Russian Federation investigation after the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with an FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair.

He said in his opening statement that his work has never been tainted by politics and the intense scrutiny he faces represents "just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's belt".

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Giuliani reiterated the president's nickname for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe-"witch hunt"-and claimed the probe should be wrapped up as soon as possible".

And in a sign that Republicans are not eager to replay the nasty Strzok hearing, GOP lawmakers signaled Friday that they were unwilling to force Page to testify publicly - despite earlier indications that they would.

In the prepared remarks, Strzok acknowledges that while his text message criticism was "blunt", it was not directed at one person or political party, and included jabs not only at Trump, but also at Clinton as well as Sen.

Although Strzok has said through his lawyer that he was eager to tell his side of the story, he made clear his exasperation at being the focal point of a congressional hearing at a time when Russian election interference has been successfully "sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions". Strzok was pulled off the Mueller investigation past year after the Justice Department's internal watchdog made the special prosecutor aware of the texts.

The Justice Department's inspector general has criticized Strzok and Page for creating the appearance of impropriety.

The contentious hearing follows hours of closed-door questioning last week. Horowitz told lawmakers after the report's release that he is not confident that Strzok was unbiased during the FBI's investigation into Clinton's emails.


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