Ex-FBI lawyer testifies after agent colleague faced Congress grilling on 2016 US presidential campaign

Republicans accuse Lisa Page and Peter Strzok of deep anti-Trump bias during investigations of both Hillary Clinton and the candidate who would eventually become the US president.

Published: 14th July 2018 05:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th July 2018 05:34 AM   |  A+A-

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page leaves following an interview with lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 13, 2018. | AP

By AFP

WASHINGTON: A former FBI lawyer met privately with members of Congress Friday to discuss texts critical of Donald Trump that she exchanged with her FBI agent lover during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

Republicans accuse Lisa Page and Peter Strzok of deep anti-Trump bias during investigations of both Hillary Clinton and the candidate who would eventually become the US president.

Page -- whose affair with Strzok has led Trump to dub them the "FBI lovers" -- struck a deal with the House Judiciary Committee to testify privately after months of attempts to haul her before Congress, including defying a subpoena to testify publicly this week.

Early Friday afternoon she walked briskly past reporters and took no questions as she entered a meeting room in a House office building.

Republican lawmakers have been adamant that her and Strzok's political opinions clouded their judgment and impacted their work on the probes by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"This decision is long overdue," Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte said in announcing the arrangement.

Page appeared before a joint meeting of the Judiciary and Oversight committees for a transcribed interview expected to last several hours. 

Goodlatte said the interview was scheduled to continue next Monday.

"Lisa Page is a key witness in our investigation and we need to hear from her about her role related to certain decisions made by the (Justice) Department and Bureau," Goodlatte added.

Her appearance comes one day after extraordinary political fireworks at a congressional hearing, where Republicans launched blistering attacks on Strzok and accused him of letting his anti-Trump "animus" affect his work.

Strzok aggressively pushed back in the eight-hour session, stating "unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took."

Trump himself has spoken out repeatedly about the pair. As recently as Thursday during his trip to NATO headquarters in Brussels, he tweeted his criticism of "FBI Lover/Agent Lisa Page," saying she was "dodging a Subpoena" and refusing to testify.

"Together with her lover, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, she worked on the Rigged Witch Hunt, perhaps the most tainted and corrupt case EVER," he added.

Page and Strzok exchanged thousands of messages on government-issued mobile phones -- texts which came to light last year, and which were quoted in a report by the Justice Department inspector general which determined there was "no evidence" that the conclusions of prosecutors in the Clinton case were affected by bias.

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