Gohmert presses Mueller on Comey friendship, handling of FBI agents

Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertLive coverage: Witnesses say Trump committed impeachable offenses Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday pressed former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE over his relationship with former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Five things to watch in Russia probe review 'Project Guardian' is the effective gun law change we need MORE and his handling of the behavior of former FBI agent Peter Strzok, two key areas President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE has seized on to hit Mueller's credibility.

Gohmert, who earlier this month described Muller as an "anal opening," asked if it was accurate that the former special counsel and Comey had been "good friends for many years."

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Mueller responded that they were "business associates" who came up together in the Department of Justice before acknowledging they were friends.

Gohmert asked if Comey's firing, which triggered the special counsel's appointment, came up during Mueller's meeting with Trump to discuss the FBI director position. Mueller said he could not remember.

The president has repeatedly claimed that Mueller was conflicted in his investigation because of his relationship with Comey and because he interviewed for the FBI director job before being named as special counsel.

However, Mueller's report states that he was there to advise Trump about the bureau as an institution, and he testified on Wednesday that he was not meeting with Trump as a candidate for the position.

Gohmert also zeroed in on the involvement of Strzok, whose anti-Trump text messages have been a focal point for those seeking to undermine the credibility of the Mueller investigation.

Mueller testified that he learned of the texts in the summer of 2017 and did not know of Strzok's feelings toward the president before that.

"When I did find out I acted swiftly to have him reassigned elsewhere in the FBI," Mueller testified.

Gohmert closed his line of questioning with a diatribe suggesting the special counsel's investigation was unfair and that Trump was right to lash out repeatedly against the probe.

"If somebody knows they did not conspire with anybody from Russia to affect the election, and they see the big Justice Department with people that hate that person coming after them, and then a special counsel appointed who hires dozen or more people that hate that person, and he knows he's innocent ... what he’s doing is not obstructing justice, he’s pursuing justice."

"I take your question," Mueller replied, prompting light laughter among some in the hearing room.