Days after a congressional hearing devolved into partisan bickering as lawmakers grilled Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok over the bureau’s handling of presidential election-related probes, some Republicans are expressing more optimism after closed-door interviews with former FBI attorney Lisa Page.
Strzok and Page have been at the center of claims by President Donald Trump and others that federal agencies showed bias in investigating then-candidates Trump and Hillary Clinton. The two were reportedly having an affair when they exchanged text messages disparaging the Republican nominee.
U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, was among those who reacted positively to this week’s conversations with Page.
“She has given us more insights to who was involved in what,” he said in a recent interview with Fox News.
Gohmert went on to say that Page appeared to be a “more contrite person” than Strzok, though he made it clear he had no illusions about her political position.
“She’s a Democrat,” he said. “She wanted Hillary to win and she did not want Trump to win. And that’s been obvious.”
Nevertheless, Gohmert appeared to imply that her answers have helped lead them to other high-ranking FBI officials who might have acted inappropriately. He said attorneys for the bureau at times attempted to cut her off before she revealed too much information.
“There were times the FBI lawyers would be reaching for the button to mute her comment and she would answer before the thing could mute her comment,” Gohmert said.
Though he did not mention names of individuals possibly involved in the current congressional probe, he described a former CIA director and a former director of national intelligence as “guilty dogs” in the wake of their unspecified recent comments.
“When I hear (John) Brennan or (James) Clapper either saying the kinds of things they’ve been saying recently, then it tells me, wow, we must be getting close to them,” Gohmert said. “Those guilty dogs are barking pretty loud.”
Page’s closed-door testimony began on Friday and continued Monday. Gohmert said that regardless of whether Page testifies in public, he expects her answers to be useful in the investigation.
“I think she’ll be a good witness,” he said. “I don’t know that we’re going to have a public hearing with her. But the important thing is to continue to gather the evidence.”
Gohmert was joined by other GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who applauded Page’s openness.
“Lisa Page is a very credible witness,” Meadows said. “She’s doing her best to help us find the truth.”
He further assessed that “in ways she has been falsely accused of not being willing to cooperate” with investigators.
Instead, Meadows said that she appears to be “willing to help in the spirit of transparency.”
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