FBI agent Peter Strzok said during congressional testimony Thursday that comments former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani made to the media in the fall of 2016 had Strzok concerned that the FBI was leaking about the Clinton email probe. But Strzok denied that his concerns were specifically about potential leaks from federal investigators in New York.
“I think there was discussion, I remember, and particularly some of it was in the context of reporting from Mr. Giuliani and others talking about connections to New York,” Sztrok told Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). “I don’t want to scapegoat New York because a lot of people were aware of it.”
Krishnamoorthi, during a hearing with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, was walking Strzok through a number of sections in the recent Justice Department Inspector General report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation. He focused on the sections about whether fears of leaks affected decisions about going public, right before the 2016 election, about certain actions in the probe.
Strzok confirmed that New York investigators were aware of a warrant for Anthony Weiner’s laptop. FBI Director James Comey’s would go on to inform Congress that he was reopening the email investigation, as the FBI was examining emails on the laptop.
“I did not have concerns about New York,” Strzok said, when asked about the discussions around making the announcement to Congress. “My concerns were just general. That the more people who are aware of something, the greater chance that it leaks out somehow. But those concerns were not specific in my mind to New York.”
When Krishnamoorthi brought up a section in the IG report about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch recalling a Comey comment about the New York FBI office’s anti-Clinton sentiment, Sztrok told the lawmaker he’d have to ask Comey to explain those comments.
Krishnamoorthi then asked Strzok about the public comments Giuliani made about a “big surprise” coming in the campaign that Giuliani would go on to said he had heard from former FBI agents. Strzok said his remarks gave him “a lot of concern.”
“Because, while it’s certainly possible that Mr. Giuliani is exaggerating or engaging in some sort of puffery, the reality is that also given the things that were going on, given timing that the laptop was there and he was talking about that in the context of a big surprise, it caused me great concern that he had information about that — that he should not have had,” Strzok said.