Rep. Trey Gowdy delivers his opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearing featuring former FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok:
REP. TREY GOWDY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In our justice system, we give law enforcement officers incredible powers; the power to investigate, to search, to seize, to stop, the power to allege, and accuse, the power to eavesdrop and intercept private communications, the power to look through bank records, the power to look through phone records, the power to even check what books you checked out of the library.
These are awesome powers that must be used responsibly because those powers affect reputations and freedom. These awesome powers are given a correspondingly high expectation that these powers will be used fairly, lawfully, professionally, and a manner worthy of our respect.
About two weeks ago, FBI Agent Peter Strzok was interviewed for more than 10 hours. We learned that Agent Strzok has a most unusual and largely self serving definition of bias. Agent Strzok, despite the plain language of his text and e-mails, despite the Inspector General's report and despite common sense, doesn't think he was biased.
He thinks calling someone destabilizing for the country isn't bias. He thinks promising to protect the country from someone he hasn't even begun to investigate isn't bias. He thinks promising to stop someone he is supposed to be, fairly, investigating from ever becoming president isn't bias.
He thinks talking about an insurance policy to keep someone from becoming president isn't bias. But that's for one of the folks he was investigating. He has a different set of rules for others that he's investigating.
Agent Strzok thinks saying someone he is, allegedly, investigating should be elected president 100 million to zero before he ever interviews. He doesn't think that's bias. Agent Strzok thinks pronouncing someone innocent before bothering to interview more than 30 different witnesses isn't bias.
He thinks claiming you can smell the Trump supporters isn't bias, but he doesn't say a single solitary word about being able to smell the support of any other candidate. To him, that isn't bias.
The moment Special Counsel Bob Mueller found out about Peter Strzok's text and e-mails, he kicked off of the investigation. But that was a year and a half too late. The text and the e-mails may have been discovered in May of 2017, but the bias existed and was manifest a year and a half before that, all the way back to late 2015 and early 2016.
So, it wasn't the discovery of text that got him fired. It was the bias manifest in those texts that made him unfit to objectively and dispassionately investigate. So, if the bias existed in late 2015 and early 2016, and it did, his own fitness to investigate existed then, as well.
Agent Strzok struggled to define bias for the better part of 10 hours. For the rest of us, bias is the prejudging of a person, a group, or a thing. It usually has a negative connotation, but it is a preconceived position or a prejudgment. It is the making up of your mind ahead of time based on anything other than the facts, and that is exactly what he did. Bias is saying, Hillary Clinton should win the presidency 100 million to zero, when she was still under investigation, wasn't even the nominee, hadn't been interviewed and 30 other witnesses had also not been interviewed.
In March of 2016, Agent Strzok had Clinton winning 100 million to zero, even though the investigation was far from being over. That is the prejudging of someone's innocence before all the evidence is in.
On the other hand, he said, Trump would be destabilizing, called him an idiot, abysmal, bigoted nonsense (ph), called him a disaster. He said he should F himself.
Strzok promised to stop Trump from becoming president before the investigation even began. He talked, longingly, of Trump resigning two months after he was inaugurated and well before the special counsel investigation even began.
Strzok even talked about impeachment the day the special counsel was appointed. That is prejudging guilt, it is prejudging punishment, and it is textbook bias. We live in a 50/50 country and we accept that. But we're a 100 percent country when it comes to having law enforcement that doesn't prejudge innocence before investigations are over and doesn't prejudge guilt and punishment before an investigation even begins.
Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her. Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him. That is bias.
Agent Strzok may not see it, but the rest of the country does. And it's not what we want, expect, or deserve from any law enforcement officer, much less the FBI. A fair, bias-free investigation is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it's an American issue. Or at least it used to be.