Former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok defended his affair with now-former FBI counsel Lisa Page during a closed-door appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last summer, repeatedly denying the relationship presented a security risk when challenged by GOP aides, according to a newly released transcript of his testimony.
Strzok, who was fired from the bureau after months of scrutiny regarding anti-Trump text messages between him and Page, confirmed he was involved in an extramarital affair when asked about it during his interview before the committee on June 27, 2018.
But Strzok was also asked by Art Baker, the GOP investigative counsel for the committee, whether that affair could have made him “vulnerable to potential recruitment” by “hostile intelligence service[s].”
“Yeah, I don’t think I would characterize it that way,” Strzok said. “I think it is not so much any particular action as it is the way that action might be used to coerce or otherwise get somebody to do something. I can tell you that in no way would that extramarital affair have any power in coercing me to do anything other than obeying the law and doing honest, competent investigation.”
Baker continued to press Strzok as to whether the affair could have been a “vulnerability” should he have been approached by a foreign intelligence service.
“I would absolutely respond not, you know – and, well getting into, you know, terms of art here, one argument is you would tell the service, ‘Let me get back to you.’ I would immediately go report that to my superiors and see how they wanted to follow up,” Strzok explained. “But it is — I absolutely would not have been vulnerable or even let alone consider any sort of recruitment attempt.”
The details emerged in a lengthy transcript released Thursday by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.
Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman welcomed the publication in a written statement, saying: “Pete welcomes the release of the transcript of his closed-door testimony, which we have been calling for since he voluntarily testified last June. It is further evidence that, contrary to the impression that the president’s allies in Congress tried to create with their selective and often inaccurate leaks, Pete at all times discharged his duties honorably, patriotically, and without regard to his personal political opinions.”
Later during the closed-door hearing, GOP senior counsel Ryan Breitenbach raised the …