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Old 19-06-2018, 12:52 AM   #51
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FBI agent Peter Strzok willing to testify before Congress

Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election, says he is willing to testify before Congress. Strzok played a key role in the Clinton email investigation and was one of Mueller's top deputies before he was reassigned following the discovery of anti-Trump text messages he exchanged with another FBI official.

A spokesperson for Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, the law firm representing Strzok, confirmed to CBS News that he would be willing to testify without immunity before any congressional committee and would not plead the Fifth in response to any questions. The Washington Post first reported Strzok's willingness to testify.

Strzok had a leadership role in both the Clinton email probe and the early phase of the Russia investigation. New revelations about his communications during the 2016 campaign came to light Thursday in the Department of Justice's inspector general report about the Clinton email investigation. Strzok has been a frequent target of President Trump and his allies, who argue his conduct was part of a concerted effort on the part of the FBI and DOJ to damage the Trump campaign.

The Post writes that Strzok "wants the chance to clear his name and tell his story." His attorney Aitan Goelman told the paper that Strzok "intends to answer any question put to him, and he intends to defend the integrity of the Clinton email investigation, the Russia collusion investigation to the extent that that's a topic, and his own integrity."

Politico reported Friday that Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was preparing to subpoena Strzok to appear before the committee. Goelman told the Post a subpoena would not be necessary.

The IG's report on Thursday revealed an exchange between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who also worked on the email investigation. The two were engaged in an extramarital affair, and said they used their FBI-issued phones to communicate in order to conceal their activities. Just two months before the 2016 election, Page texted Strzok, "[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" to which Strzok responded, "No. No he's not. We'll stop it."

The text exchange was the latest between Page and Strzok to be made public. The two agents became first known for their derogatory comments about the president throughout the campaign and well into Mr. Trump's time in office, which led to Strzok being removed from Mueller's investigative team.

As for Strzok's more controversial exchanges with Page, Goelman told the Post that there's "no question" that his client regrets the messages, but that he was expressing his political opinions in what he thought was a private conversation.
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