Schiff invites Strzok to appear before House Intelligence Committee

Schiff invites Strzok to appear before House Intelligence Committee
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has invited FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok to appear before the panel.

Strzok has faced a barrage of attacks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE and conservatives after an internal investigation revealed he had been sending messages critical of the then-Republican candidate during the 2016 presidential race to FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats see John Bolton as potential star witness Top State Department official arrives for testimony in impeachment probe The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy MORE (D-Calif.) said Strzok, who has offered to appear voluntarily before the House Judiciary Committee, would be able to “address directly allegations about his conduct and activities” as well as share his knowledge of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election.

“We would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Strzok to appear for a voluntary interview as part of our ongoing probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election,” Schiff wrote in a Tuesday letter to Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman. 

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DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a scathing report about FBI conduct last week, expressing profound concern about the messages Strzok sent to Page. Strzok served as the No. 2 official on the bureau’s investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Poll: Warren leads Biden in Maine by 12 points MORE’s use of a private email server while secretary of State.

One major bombshell revelation in the inspector general's 500-page report was Strzok telling Page they would “stop” Trump from becoming president, a fact that GOP lawmakers seized on during Horowitz’s two hours-long testimonies on Capitol Hill this week.

The report found no evidence that political bias had affected the FBI's investigation. 

But Republicans have seized on the texts as proof of political bias within the top levels of the federal government.

Critics on the right have also drawn attention to Strzok's work at the beginning of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Schiff noted that Republicans on the committee had notified the DOJ in January about the committee’s intentions to interview Strzok, but they ultimately did not offer him the opportunity to speak before the committee “for reasons that remain unclear.”

“We would welcome the opportunity to finally hear from Mr. Strzok,” Schiff wrote.

Schiff offered the FBI official a closed-door interview that would cover unclassified and classified matters, parts of which could then be released in an unclassified portion of the transcript if Strzok agrees.