WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Gerry Connolly said Thursday’s long and contentious public hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok wasn’t necessary.
The House Judiciary and Oversight committees had previously held a separate, classified hearing questioning Strzok on his involvement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation. When asked why a separate public hearing was necessary after that 11-hour closed-door hearing, Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, responded by saying, “I don’t think it’s necessary.”
Connolly added he felt Republicans were deflecting attention from President Donald Trump and his involvement with the Russia investigation.
“They are trying to protect this President at any cost,” Connolly said, “including destruction of law enforcement, destruction of the reputation of the FBI and ultimately the destruction of the Mueller investigation itself. It’s a new low for the United States Congress.”
The recently released inspector general watchdog report revealed a text message exchange between Strzok and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page on August 8, 2016, in which Page wrote in a text thatTrump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” to which Strzok replied, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
Page was recently subpoenaed for a closed-door interview with Congress on Wednesday and will testify on Friday.