Strzok: FBI Counsel Has Instructed Me Not to Answer Questions About Mueller Probe



GOWDY: “Agent Strzok, the F.B.I. Investigation into potential Russia collusion with the trump campaign began on July 31st, 2016. You drafted the originating document, you approved the originating document, you were the point of contact on the originating document, and the F.B.I. Has represented to Congress that nothing from an investigative standpoint with respect to Russian collusion and the Trump campaign began before July 31st, 2016. But 10 days before the investigation even began, 10 days before you drafted the originating document, approved the originating document, was the point of contact on the originating document. 10 days before the investigation began, which the department you work for says nothing was done before July 31st, you said trump is a disaster. I have no idea how destabilizing his presidency would be. And because you struggled a couple weeks ago with a word that I thought had a commonly accepted definition I’ll give you the definition of destabilizing. The first one is obvious. It is to make unstable. The second one caught my attention. The second dictionary definition. To call something such as a government to be incapable of functioning or surviving, that’s a pretty significant allegation to make 10 days before you even began to investigate someone. So that was before July 31st. I want to ask you in that first week we’ll go ahead up to 8 days, between July 31 and August 8, how many interviews did you conduct related to the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign?”

STRZOK: “Congressman, as you know counsel for the FBI, based on the special counsel’s equities, has instructed me not to answer questions about the ongoing investigation —“

GOWDY: “I’m asking for a number. Agent —“

STRZOK: “— into Russian attempts to interfere —“

GOWDY: “Agent Strzok, I’m asking for a number, haven’t gotten to the names. How many people had you interviewed between the beginning of July 31st and August 8th. It’s eight-daytime period or a week into an investigation. How many people had you interviewed?”

STRZOK: “Congressman, I understand your question, I appreciate it and I would very much like to answer. But as I’ve stated, as you know that counsel of the F.B.I. Based on the special counsel’s equities have directed me not to answer any questions about the ongoing investigation into Russian attempts to interfere —“ [crosstalk]

GOODLATTE: “Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question. Are you objecting to the question? If so, please state your objection.”

NADLER: “I object.”

GOODLATTE: “The gentleman does not have standing to object. Point of order. The point of order should be heard.

NADLER: “This demand puts Mr. Strzok in an impossible position. He is still an employee of the F.B.I. And F.B.I. Counsel instructed him to answer the question. If we have a problem take it up with the F.B.I. Not badger Mr. Strzok.”

GOODLATTE: “The gentleman’s point of order is not well taken.”

NADLER: “It is right on point.”

GOODLATTE: “No, it is not. Mr. Strzok, are you objecting to the question and if so please state your objection.”

STRZOK: “Mr. Chairman, two things one I do not believe I’m here under subpoena but here voluntarily. Secondly, I will not based on direction of the F.B.I. To me, based on that I will not answer that question. Because it goes to matters which are related to the ongoing investigations being undertaken by the special counsel.”

GOODLATTE: “Mr. Strzok you have not stated a valid legal basis for not responding to a question directed to you by a member of the United States House of Representatives and you are overruled.”

NADLER: “Point of order, Mr. Chairman.”

GOODLATTE: “Let me continue. Your testimony is essential to this hearing and to our oversight and information gathering functions with regard to the actions taken and decisions made by the department of justice and the federal bureau of investigation in 2016 and 2017. I’m specifically directing you to answer the question in response to our subpoena, notwithstanding your objection.”

NADLER: “Point of order, Mr. Chairman.”

GOODLATTE: “Mr. Strzok, please be advised that you can either comply with the committee’s direction to answer the question and refuse to do so. The latter of which will place you in risk of contempt citation and potential criminal liability. Do you understand that? The question is directed to the witness.”

NADLER: “I have a point of order before he answers the question.”

GOODLATTE: “The point of order is not well taken.”

NADLER: “You don’t know what it is. You can’t say it is not well taken.”

GOODLATTE: “The witness will answer the question.”

NADLER: “Mr. Chairman, I raise my point of order and insist on it.”

GOODLATTE: “What is the point of order?”

NADLER: “The United States attorney’s manual instructs department personnel not to respond to questions about the existence of an ongoing investigation or comment on its nature or progress.”

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