Strzok's lawyer accuses GOP of mischaracterizing his testimony

Strzok's lawyer accuses GOP of mischaracterizing his testimony
© Greg Nash

FBI agent Peter Strzok's lawyer is accusing Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee of selectively leaking portions of his private testimony last week. 

Aitan Goelman made the allegation in a letter sent to the committee on Monday, according to CNN. Goelman also alleges that the invitation for Strzok to return next week for a public testimony was a "trap."

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"Having sharpened their knives behind closed doors, the committee would now like to drag back Special Agent Strzok and have him testify in public — a request that we originally made and the committee denied," Goelman wrote, according to CNN. "What's being asked of Special Agent Strzok is to participate in what anyone can recognize as a trap."

CNN notes that Goelman also demanded that the whole transcript from Strzok's testimony be released. It remains unclear if Strzok will accept an invite to take part in public testimony unless the transcript is disclosed. 

"Given that the committee is playing political games, violating our trust and its own rules, it no longer makes sense for us to keep playing along," he wrote. "[Strzok] is willing to testify again, and he is willing to testify publicly. ... He might even be willing to testify publicly before this committee. But not under conditions that are so obviously designed to embarrass and a trap an honorable man who has spent 25 years serving his country in the military and in law enforcement."

Strzok was questioned for 11 hours on Capitol Hill last week over text messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page during the presidential campaign, in which the two expressed views that were critical of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE

Strzok said he regretted sending the messages, but lawmakers in the room said he consistently denied showing any political favoritism toward Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Why the national emergency? A second term may be Trump’s only shield from an indictment MORE during the 2016 campaign.

Goelman charges that Republican lawmakers raced to discredit Strzok after the testimony, writing that they "rushed to the media to mischaracterize Special Agent Strzok's testimony, calling him a liar and telling reporters he refused to answer many questions on the advice of counsel."

Despite describing Strzok's invite to appear publicly before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees as a "trap," Goelman did say it's possible Strzok could come before a different committee. 

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Schiff: Evidence of collusion between Trump campaign, Russia 'pretty compelling' Schiff: 'Hard to imagine a poorer case' than Trump's on emergency declaration MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, invited Strzok to appear before it in June as part of its probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.