The partisan bickering and speeches disguised as questions brought little honor to either the House Oversight or Judiciary committees in Thursday's three-ring circus masquerading as a hearing.
Strzok was reassigned from the Russian Federation investigation. "It is not a hoax".
Page served as the deputy counsel to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and worked briefly for the Mueller team, but was taken off the special counsel's staff when the text messages were discovered.
"We were deeply troubled by text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations", the Justice Department's inspector general wrote in its June report.
After defying a congressional subpoena Wednesday, Page has agreed to meet with congressmen in closed-door sessions Friday and again on Monday.
In his opening statement, Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was "blunt", it wasn't directed at one person or party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen.
This, I think, is a smart tactic-playing defense would allow the Republicans to continue insinuating guilt, while going on the offensive against their inquisitors casts the accusations in their proper partisan light. He illustrated the GOP fruitlessness with one "standout moment" in which Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) "made [President] Trump's case that the probe is a "witch hunt" by attacking Strzok as a philanderer, not a trace of irony on his face". "That is bias. Agent Strzok may not see it, but the rest of the country does, and it is not what we want, expect or deserve from any law enforcement officer, much less the Federal Bureau of Investigation".
Jeffress has argued that Page needs more time to review relevant records before testifying to the panels, a claim that the Republican members of those committees reject.
Goodlatte told Strzok he could answer, though Gohmert was visibly displeased.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte asked colleagues to imagine being investigated by someone who "hated you" and "disparaged you in all manner of ways". "If you want to represent what you said accurately I am happy to answer that question, but I don't appreciate what was originally said being changed".
But Goodlatte dismissed Nadler's objections and members of the committees joined in the bickering for several minutes before Gowdy continued his questioning - which drew further objection from other members of the House committees. "Aw, Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous", one Democrat complained.
Thursday's hearing, which was the first public appearance Strzok has made since he became a central figure in the Russian Federation investigation, underscored the deep tensions on Capitol Hill over the FBI's investigations connected to the 2016 election.
"I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there", Strzok said in the text.
"Not at all", a defiant Strzok said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will meet with Trump in Helsinki on Monday, has repeatedly denied US intelligence agency conclusions that Moscow interfered in the campaign and tried to help Trump. He also said he had never contemplated leaking damaging information he knew about the Trump campaign.
"Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took", Strzok told the committees.