Former FBI counter-intelligence agent Peter Strzok was heatedly questioned during a hearing Thursday about his hesitance to join an investigation that might not lead to President Donald Trump being impeached.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) brought up two sets of text messages Strzok sent about President Donald Trump. He said in the first text message cited that they would be lucky if he resigned. He later said that he was hesitating to join an investigation targeting the president because he didn’t think there was anything there.
In one of the messages, sent a day after special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe was launched in May 2017, Strzok said “For me, and this case, I personally have a sense of unfinished business.”
In the second text, sent the same day, Strzok said “You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”
Gowdy argued that Strzok’s texts indicate he was reluctant to join the Mueller probe because he doubted it would go anywhere against Trump.
“So in addition to disappointing the hell out my Democratic colleagues, that someone who was investigating Russian collusion didn’t think there was any there there, why would you be concerned,” Gowdy said. “Why wouldn’t you be ecstatic that there was no Russian collusion. Why the word concern.”
Strzok countered that he was drawing contradictory assertions, that he wanted to impeach the president and thought there wasn’t anything there. Strzok argued that he was actually looking at everything with an open and keeping both possibilities.
“The reality is, and you know full well, I said both,” Strzok said. “And you know why I said both, why I said that and what I am telling you under oath is that I did not know what existed. I had prejudged nothing. That was to be determined and that was a logical way investigators and attorneys to approach an investigation.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been leading the investigation which is looking at whether the president or his associates colluded with Russian interests during the campaign. Strzok did end up joining the investigation was removed August 2017 after his texts attacking the president were revealed internally.