FBI Agent Removed from Russia Investigation for Anti-Trump Texts is Willing to Testify Before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney said in a letter made public Sunday.

Peter Strzok, who was singled out in a recent Justice Department inspector general report for the politically charged messages, would be willing to testify without immunity, and he would not invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to any question, his attorney, Aitan Goelman, said in an interview Sunday. Strzok has become a special target of President Trump, who has used the texts to question the Russia investigation.

Goelman said Strzok “wants the chance to clear his name and tell his story.”

“He thinks that his position, character and actions have all been misrepresented and caricatured, and he wants an opportunity to remedy that,” the lawyer said.

If Strzok were to testify publicly, the hearing could be explosive, perhaps exposing new details about investigators’ thinking on some of the FBI’s most high-profile probes.

Strzok had a leadership role on both the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, as well the probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. That investigation is now being led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who once considered Strzok a key member of his team but removed him once informed of the anti-Trump messages.

Goelman said he had not discussed any dates with lawmakers on when Strzok might appear at a hearing. Politico reported that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) had started the process to subpoena Strzok, though Goelman said that the lawmaker had done so without having asked whether Strzok might appear voluntarily.

Goelman, who is with the firm Zuckerman Spaeder, wrote in a letter to Goodlatte that a subpoena would be “wholly unnecessary.”

“Special Agent Strzok, who has been fully cooperative with the DOJ Office of Inspector General, intends to voluntarily appear and testify before your committee and any other Congressional committee that invites him,” Goelman wrote.

Spokespeople for Goodlatte did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Sunday.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky