Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said former FBI lawyer Lisa Page was more credible and forthcoming during a closed-door congressional hearing Friday than was her one-time paramour, Peter Strzok, the day before.
“I found Lisa Page to be far more credible than Peter Strzok,” Gaetz told reporters outside the hearing. “I didn’t agree with her characterization of every text message and piece of evidence. But we did not see the smart answers from Lisa Page that we saw from Peter Strzok.”
Page and Strzok exchanged an estimated 50,000 text messages during and after the 2016 presidential campaign and often expressed in them extremely critical opinions of President Donald Trump while he was running for the White House and after his upset victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In one of the messages, Strzok assured Page that “we’ll” make sure Trump was not elected.
Page and Strzok were catapulted to world attention in 2017 when their text messages became public, especially because both once occupied important positions in FBI investigations of Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business and allegations that Trump campaign aides colluded with Russian interests.
“There were questions that Peter Strzok did not answer yesterday that Lisa Page did answer today,” Gaetz said. “Those were the areas, I think, that were the most productive.” Many congressional Republicans believe Page and Strzok were key participants in covert efforts by top officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI to keep Trump from winning the 2016 election and then to somehow force him out of office following his entering the Oval Office.
Gaetz said Page responded to questions that Strzok claimed FBI counsel barred him from answering. Page was also consulting with the bureau and her personal lawyer during the hearing much like Strzok did during his. There were questions Page declined to answer, Gaetz added.
The closed hearing was convened jointly by the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Strzok previously testified for 11 hours behind closed doors to the two panels, then spent most of Thursday in a public hearing that was often contentious because the former FBI counter-intelligence agent stridently claimed his messages with Page were not evidence of extreme bias against Trump and often derided House Republicans for investigating him.