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Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee said he would give Strzok a Purple Heart if he could.

Republicans have seized on Strzok and Page's tens of thousands of text messages over 2015-2017 - when both were involved in the Russian Federation investigation - as proof that the FBI is too riddled with bias to fairly investigate Trump. Strzok's lawyer said he was escorted from the Federal Bureau of Investigation building last month as the disciplinary process proceeds. He first offered to testify publicly last month following the release of a report by the Justice Department inspector general that singled him out for strong criticism. But House Republicans remain unconvinced.

Strzok insisted under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he said "we'll stop" a Trump presidency followed Trump's denigration of the family of a dead USA service member. One of the few interruptions came when the networks cut away for a 10-minute window to broadcast a rather incongruous scene far from steamy Washington: the pomp and circumstance of Trump's arrival at stately Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, where the president was to join British Prime Minister Theresa May for a black-tie dinner on the second leg of his week-long Europe trip.

On Thursday, Republicans disputed his contention that he wasn't biased and that his views didn't affect the investigation. "Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, please", one said.

"I can't help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page?".

Goodlatte threatened to hold Strzok in contempt at the end of the hearing if he did not answer Gowdy's question.

Strzok insisted that he did not remember sending those texts, but that he had "significant regret" about them.

In his opening statement, Strzok said he has never allowed personal opinions to infect his work, that he knew information during the campaign that had the potential to damage Trump but never contemplated leaking it and that the focus put on him by Congress is misguided and plays into "our enemies' campaign to tear America apart". "We'll stop it", Strzok replied.

"You as a counterintelligence officer had no interest in participating in a counterintelligence investigation that was not going to lead to impeachment", Gowdy told Strzok.

"It was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero and my presumption, based on that frightful, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States", Strzok said.

The email shows that the bureau fielded several copies of the dossier from people with a known bias against Trump or in favor of Clinton.




"I don't know if you're saying this experience is like being at the dentist", he said, drawing murmurs from the crowd.

The hearing represented a public culmination of a monthslong campaign by House Republicans who are critical of the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Republicans yelled at Strzok and pointed fingers at him, making it clear they did not believe him.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa made Strzok read some of his texts aloud, including some with profane language.

"Mr. Strzok, are you starting to understand why some folks out there don't believe a word you say?" said Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas.

The difference between the lines of questioning between Republicans and Democrats was, as usual, stark. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the oversight panel, had aides hold up posters of everyone who has pleaded guilty in the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

His name has been uttered on countless Fox News segments to cast doubt on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's Russian Federation probe. But Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., cut him off and asked him to withdraw the assertion that Strzok had lied.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said in a tweet:"I hope lots of Americans are watching the Strzok hearings".

"It is a disgrace what this man has done to our justice system", Gohmert said. "Because it's not about you".

The marathon hearing split along partisan lines from the very beginning, with the Democrat minority interrupting the Republicans' questioning with repeated procedural interventions and points of order, and at one point bursting into applause at an answer from Strzok.

He also said - a couple of times - that it was more frustrating for him than it was for lawmakers, suggesting he feels like there is more information that could help him clear his name.


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