A highly combative hearing already punctuated by frequent angry interruptions and calls for order erupted Thursday when Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, accused FBI agent Peter Strzok of lying, reasoning that if he was willing to hide his infamous infidelity with an FBI lawyer from his wife, he could lie to Congress.
Gohmert targeted Strzok’s contention throughout the joint House Oversight and Judiciary Committee hearing that while he may have strong political views – as expressed in his anti-Trump text messages with then-paramour Lisa Page – he doesn’t have any “bias.”
Those political views “are called biases,” the congressman said, “and we all have them.”
“And you have come here and said, ‘I have no bias,'” Gohmert continued. “And you do it with a straight face, and I watched you in the private testimony you gave, and I told some of the other guys, ‘He is really good, he’s lying.’ He knows, we know he’s lying, and he can probably pass the polygraph.'”
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., interrupted, raising a point of order with the chairman: “A member of this committee just asserted that this witness, who is under oath and a former agent of the FBI, lied. There is no evidence. … I ask him to withdraw it. It is a disgrace.”
Gohmert replied that he would not withdraw the statement, arguing that only members of Congress and the president are protected by the rule barring accusations of lying and insisting his line of question addresses the witnesses character and credibility.
“The disgrace is what this man has done to our justice system!” Gohmert said. “There is the disgrace! And it won’t be recaptured any time soon because of the damages that you have done to the justice system.”
Gohmert wasn’t finished.
“And I have talked to FBI around the country; you have embarrassed them, you have embarrassed yourself,” Gohmert told Strzok, who was the lead investigator in the FBI’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Trump-Russia collusion.
“And 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 eye and lie to her about Lisa Page?”
“Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous!”
“Shame on you!”
“Mr. Chairman, this is an intolerable harassment of the witness!”
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., got in the last word, shouting to Gohmert: “You need your medication!”
Earlier, after Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., grilled Strzok, Watson Coleman interrupted, scolding the House Oversight chairman: “If you can’t control yourself, how do you expect this committee to control itself?
“You’ve been out of control since you’ve been on this committee,” she said. “Why don’t you leave it alone? This is not Benghazi.”
WND reported earlier Thursday that when Gowdy confronted Strzok with a text message in which he vowed to a colleague “we’ll stop” Donald Trump from being elected, the FBI agent refused to disclose how many interviews he had conducted regarding alleged Trump-Russia collusion prior to the August 2016 exchange with Page.
After Gohmert’s accusation and the expiration of his time of questioning, the chairman of the joint hearing at the time, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., allowed Strzok to give a brief response, despite the objection of Gohmert, who argued that he had not asked a final question.
“Sir, first, I assure you, under oath,” an emotional and resolute Strzok began, “as I spoke also during my interview week or two ago, I have also told the truth.
“The fact that you would accuse me of otherwise, the fact that you would question whether or not that was the sort of look I would engage with with a family member who I have acknowledged hurting goes more to a discussion about your character and what you stand for and what is going (on) inside you …”
Gohmert interrupted: “It goes to your credibility. You lost your credibility.”