"Mr. Gowdy, my understanding of why I was kicked off was that based on an understanding of those texts, and the perception that they might create-" Strzok responded.
Page told investigators that she and Strzok were having an affair, according to a Justice Department Inspector General's report about the Clinton email investigation, and that they used their work devices to hide that from their spouses. Some Democrats applauded after he finished speaking.
At around 10:15 AM ET, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok will testify before two House committees responsible for FBI and Justice Department oversight - The House Judiciary and Oversight committees. Strzok, a seasoned counterintelligence agent, helped lead both investigations but has since been reassigned to human resources.
The FBI agent said the Russian Federation investigation that began in summer 2016 had the power to "derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump". "Agent Strzok may not see it, but the rest of the country does".
In Thursday's hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Republicans hope to further undermine the credibility of the investigation and head off any potential effort to impeach Trump. Goodlatte eventually let the hearing proceed without calling the panel into recess. Strzok said the disparaging comments were merely political commentary between colleagues during a remarkably heated election.More news: Korea approves rare screening of N. Korea films
The FBI agent's anti-Trump text messages sent to Page, with whom he was having an affair, have come under scrutiny by congressional Republicans and the Justice Department's internal watchdog.
Strzok also expressed regret for the messages he and Page exchanged, but emphasized that his personal opinions did not impact any of his official actions.
He said he was one of the few people during the 2016 election who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with people in the Trump orbit, and that that information could have derailed Trump's election chances.
"But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind", Strzok said.
In one, Page asked Strzok if Trump was going to be president.More news: Trump arrives United Kingdom for first State visit
He also accused Republican congressmen of being a pawn of Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying that he "strongly believes that today's hearing is just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart".
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.
The sharp tone of Strzok's statement sets the stage for a contentious hearing following hours of closed-door questioning last week.
Strzok is on Capitol Hill Thursday to answer questions and defend himself, after his anti-Trump text messages with then-FBI official Lisa Page placed him under intense scrutiny, particularly from Republicans.
Strzok sought to explain his texts, including when he told Page "we'll stop" Trump, which he said was written in response to Trump's attacks on a Gold Star family during the 2016 campaign.More news: Senator Graham Slams Democratic Dissent of Kavanaugh
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