Former agent Peter Strzok said he “doesn’t recall” his “we’ll stop Donald Trump” text sent during an FBI investigation into Russian meddling with the 2016 election. He did admit, however, that he was disturbed by Trump’s “horrible, disgusting behavior” at the time Fox News reports. The last time Strzok appeared in court he testified in a closed-door hearing with the two House committees.
When questioned by House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy on Thursday, Strzok denied remembering the brief text in question.
“I don’t recall writing that text,” he said at the open hearing. “What I can tell you is that text in no way suggested that I or the FBI would take any action to influence the candidacy.”
Strzok claims that the exchanges resulted from Trump’s widely publicized feud with Khizr Khan, who vocally criticized the president during the 2016 election.
“You need to understand that that was written late at night, off-the-cuff and it was in response to a series of events that included a then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and my presumption based on that horrible disgusting behavior [was] that the American population would not elect someone demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States,” he said.
The short text in question was between Strzok and then lover Lisa Page, an ex-lawyer for the FBI. It then surfaced in the June report released by the Justice Department inspector general.
President Trump is also questioning why Attorney General Jeff Sessions has yet to take legal action against Page for refusing to appear in court Wednesday. A Twitter post Thursday called out the attorney general for recusing himself and asked what Page “can possibly say about her statements and lies.”
Page was a fleeting part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian meddling during the election but ignored a subpoena for a hearing with the House Judiciary and Oversight Reform Committees.
According to The Washington Times, Page’s lawyer, Amy Jeffress, has requested a closed-door meeting with Congress, citing that they did not have enough time to prepare for Wednesday’s hearing.
Sessions has reportedly recused himself from the Russian investigation, much to Trump’s displeasure. The attorney general has often been attacked by the president in the press, and Trump has said he wouldn’t have chosen him to be attorney general if he knew Sessions would step down from the proceedings without forcing Page to testify.