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Hearing on Russia probe devolves into shouting match

Hearing on Russia probe devolves into shouting match

House Republican leaders threatened to hold former FBI lawyer Lisa Page in contempt of Congress unless she agrees to testify by Friday morning about her role in the bureau's probes into Hillary Clinton's emails and President Donald Trump's suspected Russian Federation ties.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers openly yelled at one another as the chair of the House's judiciary committee, Republican Robert Goodlatte of Virginia said Peter Strzok needed to answer questions and suggested they might recess the hearing and hold him in contempt.

Strzok has met with members of the House Judiciary Committee privately, but his hearing scheduled for Thursday is open.

Strzok, who has already spoken to the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees behind closed doors, is expected to testify publicly before the panels Thursday.

Ultimately Strzok responded to a question from Gowdy about the early portion of the Russian Federation investigation by defending his own work and the work of the FBI. In one exchange, Strozk vowed to "stop" Trump.

"Under oath, as I spoke also during my interview to you a week or two ago, I have always told the truth", Strzok began.

Strzok replied that he was not under subpoena, but testifying voluntarily - and that he could not answer questions "related to the ongoing investigations being undertaken by the special counsel's office".

Strzok sought to clear the air over his messages and volunteered to testify after the Justice Department inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released a report in June revealing how senior Federal Bureau of Investigation officials repeatedly expressed support for Clinton and disdain for Trump during the election.




They often interrupted Strzok and one another. He said the text, written late at night and off-the-cuff, reflected his belief that the American public would not stomach such "horrible, disgusting behavior" by the Republican presidential candidate.

As Rep. Gowdy interrupted Strzok, Rep. David Cicilline (D-NJ) interjected, noting Gowdy was already a minute and a half over his time limit.

Strzok also said he had never contemplated leaking damaging information he knew about the Trump campaign. But the report said it found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's decision to not pursue criminal charges against Clinton.

Strzok argued that Mueller did not remove him from his team because of bias, but because of the perception the texts created.

"We asked the Committee staff to explain the scope of the investigation and provide sufficient notice that would allow her to prepare, which are normal conditions for congressional committees, but these committees have not followed the normal process", Jeffress said in a statement on July 9.

FBI Director Chris Wray says employees who were singled out for criticism in the report have been referred to internal disciplinary officials. "We don't want to read text message after text message dripping with bias against one of the two presidential candidates", Goodlatte said, adding that the congressional inquiry "goes to the very heart of our system of justice", and that Strzok and other feds had turned that "on its head".

Goodlatte told Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day" Thursday morning that Page had agreed to an interview Friday.

Cuomo broke out his whiteboard to detail why he thinks House Republicans failed to make their case against Strzok and their ultimate target, Mueller.