FBI agent Peter Strzok testified behind closed doors to a House committee on Wednesday as GOP lawmakers stepped up efforts to highlight what they say is bias at the Justice Department.
Peter Strzok exchanged anti-Trump texts with a colleague, FBI attorney Lisa Page, as both worked on the Clinton investigation and briefly on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling. House Republicans have seized on the texts as part of multiple investigations into the Justice Department, the FBI, and decisions that both made during the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump criticized the closed-door interview earlier with Strzok this week, saying that it should be “shown to the public on live television, not a closed door hearing that nobody will see.”
Strzok was recently escorted from the FBI building as his disciplinary process winds through the system, his lawyer has said.
The Strzok interview is one of several meetings this week in which House Republicans are criticizing the Justice Department. At a contentious session Tuesday, the GOP-led Judiciary panel approved a new resolution requesting the department provide documents, despite an existing agreement to do so that was announced by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office over the weekend.
Republican Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, two vocal critics of the Clinton investigation, were behind the resolution, which could be considered on the House floor as soon as this week.
On Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will appear at an open hearing to testify about both investigations and the documents Republicans are seeking.
Democrats angrily fought the resolution approved Tuesday, which is nonbinding but says the documents listed must be provided within two weeks.
But Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida put politics front and center at Tuesday’s meeting, ticking off several political polls that have shown decreasing support for Mueller.
“And just as Hillary Clinton and the Democrats lost the election, you are losing this argument,” Gaetz told Democrats on the panel who charged that Republicans were trying to interfere in Mueller’s probe. If Republicans were doing so, Gaetz reasoned, “Why is it that my Democratic colleagues can’t convince the American people of that point?”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.