The hearing for FBI agent Peter Strzok descended into chaos Thursday morning as Democrats one after another interjected as Republicans questioned the witness.
Strzok, a key investigator in both the Russia and Clinton email probes, is under scrutiny for politically-charged text messages he sent to his colleague Lisa Page indicating a strong distaste for President Trump and a hope he would not win the 2016 election.
Congressman Trey Gowdy questioned Strzok first, asking him how many witnesses he interviewed in the first week of the Russia investigation.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte tried to quell Democrats’ loud points of order after Strzok objected to answering Gowdy’s question, saying he had been instructed by the FBI not to comment on ongoing investigations.
“Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question,” Goodlatte warned the witness.
The hearing quickly spiraled out of control from there, many Democrats objecting that as an FBI employee, Strzok was bound by the advice of FBI counsel.
New York Democrat Jerry Nadler was particularly contentious, telling the chairman that “this demand puts Mr. Strzok in an impossible position.”
“I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok,” Gowdy said during a particularly heated moment. “I don’t appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations.”
“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending our nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” Strzok stated as the hearing began.
The FBI agent, who was kicked off Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team after his texts exhibiting strong feelings against Trump were unearthed, maintained on Thursday that he left those sentiments at the door every day when he showed up for work at the FBI.