Jordan, Strzok engage in fiery exchange over Trump-Russia dossier
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) got into a heated exchange Thursday with Peter Strzok, an FBI counterintelligence agent Republicans have accused of exhibiting bias against President Trump during the 2016 presidential race.
Strzok refused to answer questions as Jordan repeatedly pressed him on his knowledge of the controversial dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele containing unverified claims about Trump’s links to Russia.
The salacious document, which Steele was hired to produce by consulting firm Fusion GPS, was leaked to BuzzFeed news in January 2017. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has confirmed that he alerted the FBI to the existence of the dossier at the end of 2016.
During an hours-long congressional oversight hearing Thursday, Jordan grilled Strzok on an email he sent to other FBI officials, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, referencing the dossier. He repeatedly asked Strzok the identities of “Corn and Simpson” referenced in the email.
The email appears to be a reference to Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, and David Corn, Mother Jones magazine’s Washington bureau chief who first reported on the existence of the dossier in October 2016.
But Strzok would not confirm that on Thursday, spurring frustration from Jordan, who himself is embroiled in controversy over charges that he was aware of abuse allegations on the Ohio State University wrestling team over two decades ago.
Strzok would only confirm that he wrote the email and would not get into further details, indicating the FBI has advised him against commenting on ongoing investigative matters.
“To answer that question — and I would love to answer that question … and you know why I want to answer that question because you have this information — I cannot answer that question,” Strzok said.
“You wrote about it! It’s now public! Who is Corn? Who is Simpson?” Jordan said.
“Based on direction by the FBI, sir, I am not able to answer questions about ongoing investigative matters,” Strzok said, apparently referencing the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the election.
According to Jordan, the email was headlined, “Buzzfeed is about to publish the dossier.”
“’Comparing now, the set is only identical to what McCain had,’” Jordan quoted the email as saying. “’It has differences from what was given to us by Corn and Simpson.’”
Jordan’s line of questioning appeared to be aimed at determining whether the FBI had contact with Fusion GPS on the dossier. Simpson told lawmakers behind closed doors last year that the FBI had no communications with anyone at Fusion GPS.
“I never had contact with Fusion, with Mr. Simpson, with Mr. Corn,” Strzok said Thursday.
Strzok was testifying before the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees for several hours Thursday as Republicans stepped up accusations of anti-Trump bias at the FBI. Strzok was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation after the Justice Department inspector general discovered personal text messages he sent criticizing then-candidate Trump during the 2016 presidential race.