By Robert Donachie
Former FBI special agent Peter Strzok told GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina Thursday that he was talking about President Donald Trump when he sent the now famous text message to a colleague that he would “stop” Trump from becoming president.
“You’re eight days into your Russian collusion with the Trump campaign investigation and you got another text from your colleague, Lisa Page,” Gowdy asked Strzok Thursday at a joint House committee hearing. “‘Trump’s not ever going to become president, right? right?’ and you replied, ‘no, no he’s not. we’ll stop it.’”
Gowdy is referencing text messages exchanged between Strzok and FBI counsel Lisa Page, who were in an ongoing, intimate relationship while they were serving at the agency. The messages are at the center of House Republicans’ argument that there was institutional bias within the nation’s highest intelligence agencies against the president leading up to and after his election.
The specific message Gowdy is referring to is one between Strzok and Page where Strzok promises Page they will stop Trump from ever becoming president.
“(Trump’s) not ever going to become president,” Page texted Strzok.
Strzok answered, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
The South Carolina representative asked Strzok about that specific exchange, asking him what he meant by “he” and “we’ll stop it.”
“Here’s what I want to know. who’s the he in he’s not?” Gowdy asked Strzok Thursday.
“He is then-candidate trump,” Strzok replied.
“So, when you said, ‘no, Donald Trump’s not’ in connection with a question going to become president, what’s the ‘it’?” Gowdy pressed.
Strzok delayed his answer to that question, wanting to clarify that the texts were sent “late at night” and “in shorthand.”
“I don’t care when it was written. I don’t care whether it was longhand or cursive. I don’t care about any of that. I want to know what it meant, agent Strzok,” Gowdy said.
“It would be his candidacy for the president and they would not vote him into office,” Strzok answered.
Later in the hearing, Strzok acknowledged why some members of Congress find his texts troubling, but promised they do not show evidence of bias.
“I recognize my texts created confusion, no evidence of bias in my actions,” Strzok said.
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