- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2018

The congressional testimony of anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok will be closed to the public, a spokesperson for the House Judiciary Committee confirmed Monday.

Mr. Strzok, the FBI agent whose Tweets disparaging President Trump raised questions of bias in the bureau, is scheduled to testify on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. He will appear before the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees as part of their joint investigation into the Justice Department’s decisions regarding the 2016 election.

The hearing will be closed to the public and press. However, a public hearing may happen at a later date.

An attorney for Mr. Strzok, Aitan Goelman, told The Washington Post on Sunday that his client would not plead the Fifth and was willing to testify without an immunity deal.

“[Mr. Strzok] thinks that his position, character and actions have all been misrepresented and caricatured and he wants an opportunity to remedy that,” Mr. Goelman said.

Mr. Strzok was subpoenaed on Friday. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said last week in a statement that the committees had “repeatedly” asked to interview Mr. Strzok, but he has yet to appear. But Mr. Goleman pushed back, saying a subpoena was not necessary because his client would voluntarily appear before the committees.

A key part of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, Mr. Strzoklater joined the team headed by special counsel Robert Mueller probing Russia collusion with the Trump campaign.

However, he was removed from Mueller team after the Justice Department inspector general discovered text messages disparaging Mr. Trump and promising to stop his election. The text messages were sent to Lisa Page, an FBI attorney romantically involved with Mr. Strzok.

In one message just before the election, Ms. Page asked Mr. Strzok, “Trump’s not ever going to be president, right? Right?!”

“No. No he won’t we’ll stop it,” Mr. Strzok replied.

A report issued by the Justice Department inspector general recommended the FBI take administrative action against Mr. Strzok, Ms. Page and three other unnamed bureau employees.

“The damage caused by [Strzok and Page’s] actions extends far beyond the scope of the [Clinton email] investigation and goes to the heart of the FBI’s reputation for neutral fact-finding and political independence,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report.

But Mr. Hororwitz did not say if Mr. Strzok’s bias influenced the Russian investigation.

Testifying before Congress earlier this week, Mr. Horowitz was asked if he believed whether Mr. Strzok’s texts showed political bias.

“I think as we found it clearly shows a biased state of mind,” Mr. Horowitz said.

Later, Mr. Horowitz was asked if Strzok’s bias led to the start of the Russia probe. He responded, “that’s a matter that we have under review and are looking at right now.”

Since Mr. Horowitz’s report, Mr. Strzok was escorted out of the FBI building last week. Although, his attorney maintains that he is still an active employee. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that Mr. Strzok had been stripped of his security clearance.

President Trump blasted Mr. Strzok in a recent tweet.

“FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Clinton & Russia investigations, texted to his lover Lisa Page, in the IG Report, that “we’ll stop” candidate Trump from becoming President. Doesn’t get any lower than that!” the president tweeted.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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