House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said Sunday he’d like to see FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page testify about their controversial anti-Trump texts before Congress.
‘These two witnesses need to come in and tell us what they meant by it and everything else they said over the course of 18 months,’ Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday.
Strzok, an FBI agent, was pulled off Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe over politically biased texts sent to Page, an FBI lawyer he was having an affair with.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said he’d like to see FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page testify before Congress about their anti-Trump text messages
Rep. Trey Gowdy (right) told Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace (left) that he believed his GOP colleagues weren’t doing themselves any favors by freaking out over the ‘secret society’ text
That being said, Rep. Trey Gowdy believed that FBI agent Peter Strzok (left) and FBI attorney Lisa Page (right) should speak to lawmakers about the messages they exchanged
Page was also working on the Mueller probe, but went back to the FBI before the text messages were discovered.
This week a text between the two lovers that referenced a ‘secret society’ sent the Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson into a tailspin.
Johnson suggested that the message proved ‘corruption at the highest levels of the FBI.’
The Wisconsin Republican had heard murmurs of FBI officials meeting ‘off-site,’ and suggested this text was proof of a greater conspiracy.
Later, he relented and told CNN that the ‘secret society’ text could also have been a joke.
Sent a day after President Trump’s election win, Page asked Strzok if he ever planned to give out his calendars – ones that showcased Vladimir Putin and were meant to be a joke – as Strzok was working on the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling at the time.
‘Seems kind of depressing,’ Page added. ‘Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society.’
Speaking to Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday, Gowdy answered in the affirmative when asked if Republicans were hurting their credibility when making a big deal about ‘secret societies and palace coups.’
‘Republicans are the best I’ve ever seen at taking good facts and overstating them and therefore changing the narrative,’ Gowdy said.
The South Carolina congressman said he wasn’t sure what the FBI employees meant by ‘secret society,’ adding that it would be fair to ask them about it.
‘But if it were a joke, Chris, then was it also a joke to mention the insurance policy?’ Gowdy asked, referencing another one of Strzok’s messages that Republicans have criticized.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Strzok was merely saying that the FBI needed to put resources toward the Russia probe in case candidate Donald Trump won the presidency, which seemed unlikely at the time the text was sent.
‘Was it also a joke to talk about impeachment the morning after President Trump won?’ Gowdy said. ‘Was it also a joke to say, I have no interest in participating in an investigation if he’s going to be cleared.’
‘There’s a pattern. And Republicans are better served by letting the texts speak for themselves,’ Gowdy urged. ‘Let the jury make up their mind and quit engaging in hyperbole, which we seem to do a lot.’
Gowdy, and other Republicans, have also voiced concerns over Strzok’s involvement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation too, suggesting his political bias may have spilled over to that case too, letter the former Democratic nominee walk free.
‘So these same two people, whose bias was so insidious that Bob Mueller fired them the second he found out about it, there bias existed the entire time,’ Gowdy said. ‘These same two people who were so biased they should be kicked to the curb immediately were the ones interviewing Hillary Clinton.’
When asked about Mueller, Gowdy thought the special counsel was doing a good job.
‘One hundred percent,’ Gowdy said. ‘Particularly if he’s given the time, the resources and the independence to do his job.’
The Republican lawmaker pointed out that there are two components to Mueller’s jurisdiction, the criminal component, which is the one that’s mostly discussed.
‘But there’s also a counterintelligence component that no one ever talks about because it’s not sex and interesting,’ Gowdy said. ‘But he’s going to tell us definitively what Russia tried to do in 2016.’
‘So the last time you and I were together, I told my Republican colleagues, leave him the hell alone, and that’s still my advice,’ the congressman concluded.