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Should Page agree to testify on Thursday, she would be doing so alongside Peter Strzok, the former top Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence official with whom she exchanged a series of anti-Trump texts that brought her to the GOP's attention.

The hearing Thursday marked Strzok's first public testimony about his involvement in the 2016 investigations into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation and Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

"Like many people, I had and expressed personal political opinions during an extraordinary presidential election", Strzok said.

At a time of fierce political divisions, few matters have polarized the public as much as the Russian Federation investigation, and Trump has relentlessly used his Twitter bully pulpit to criticize the probe, often seizing on Strzok and Page - the "two FBI lovers" - to make his point.

As soon as the questions got underway, the hearing devolved into a partisan verbal brawl as House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte struggled to maintain control of the crowded hearing room, which contained more than 70 members between the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.

Strzok again stated he could not answer and Goodlatte said the Committee would consider a contempt citation.

This batting order may or may not still include Ms. Lisa Page, the government lawyer with whom he exchanged late-night anti-Trump indelicacies and who did not show up for her own congressional inquisition the day before.

During his time, Gohmert had repeatedly asked Strozk questions about the Hillary Clinton private email server probe that he headed up but Strzok said he could not recall much of what the congressman was asking.

Meanwhile, the House broke questioning to hold a 5-minute long vote to table a motion made by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to subpoena former Trump aide Steve Bannon over his refusal to answer lawmakers' questions, similar to threats Strzok received during Thursday's hearing. The texts were discovered during the Justice Department inspector general's probe of the Clinton email investigation.

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"I have always told the truth", Strzok said.

'At no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took, ' Strzok said.

Strzok says he never allowed personal opinions to taint his work. Gowdy was citing derogatory comments Strzok made in text messages while working on the investigations. "Aw, Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous", one Democrat complained. Both Trump and Russian Federation have denied any collusion or wrongdoing. "At times my criticism was blunt, but despite how it has been characterized it was not limited to one person or one party".

"I don't know if you're saying this experience is like being at the dentist", he said, drawing murmurs from the crowd.

In one exchange, at the direction of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a deadpan Strzok read aloud some of the text messages he had sent to Page, including ones in which he called Trump an "idiot" and a "disaster".

Strzok had spent 11 hours being roasted by the same solons in a closed-door session last month.

The Justice Department's inspector general has criticized Strzok and Page for creating the appearance of impropriety through the texts. Within the FBI, those officials were often referred to as the "skinny group" because then-FBI Director James Comey and others sought to keep a tight grip on details of those investigations.

But IG Michael Horowitz "did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected those specific investigative decisions", he told the House Judiciary Committee on June 19.


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