Peter Strzok, the one-time top FBI official who came under fire for strongly critical text messages he exchanged about President Trump, will finally testify publicly before Congress next week.
The House committees on the Judiciary and Oversight announced Tuesday that Strzok will take questions at a July 10 joint hearing.
The committees are expecting intense media interest in the hearing, where fireworks between the former senior FBI counterintelligence official and Republican lawmakers are all but guaranteed. Strzok became a favorite punching bag of the right last year after the discovery of anti-Trump text messages sent between him and his then-girlfriend, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Both Strzok and Page were involved with both the Hillary Clinton email probe and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference. Though Page was removed from the Mueller probe as soon as the texts were discovered, some congressional Republicans have taken the messages—one of which included a pledge to “stop” Trump from winning the election—as proof that FBI leadership is hopelessly biased against the President.
The conduct of the two officials was examined at length by the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz in a report released last month. Horowitz concluded that they displayed clear bias against Trump, but that their personal feelings did not interfere with the work they performed on the two investigations.
Congressional Republicans heaped scorn on that assessment, while Trump said the report completely vindicated his claims that the Russia investigation was a “witch hunt.”
In an 11-hour, closed-door marathon interview to the joint committees last week, Strzok insisted that he did not intend to act on any of the “intimate” comments he made to Page.
As CNN reported, Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, has since accused Republicans of selectively leaking details of his testimony, and called next week’s public hearing a “trap.”