FBI agent Peter Strzok, who for a time worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and who quickly earned the ire of Donald Trump and his allies after a series of text messages critical of the president came to light, was fired from his post on Monday.
Hours later, the son of one of Strzok’s biggest critics in Congress leveled his own condemnation — directing all his anger at his father.
“I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding. That committee hearing was a low point for Congress,” tweeted Bobby Goodlatte, the son of Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), referring to a congressional hearing on July 12 at which Strzok testified about his work on the Russia probe and the anti-Trump texts.
“Thank you for your service sir. You are a patriot,” he added.
I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding. That committee hearing was a low point for Congress.
Thank you for your service sir. You are a patriot https://t.co/3dNN3AlXCZ
— Bobby Goodlatte (@rsg) August 13, 2018
The hearing in question was the culmination of a months-long investigation into the FBI’s actions during the 2016 election, which resulted in a report by the Justice Department inspector general that was highly critical of Strzok’s on-the-job behavior.
The 500-page report, released in June, cited several texts between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page — both of whom worked on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and engaged in an extramarital affair — including one in which Page had asked, “[Trump] is not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” In response, Strzok had texted, “No, he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
Strzok, who was later placed with Mueller’s probe into Russian interference, but reassigned after the texts came to light, testified to Congress in July that the text was sent “in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and my presumption…that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States.”
The report itself supported Strzok’s testimony: although critical of Strzok’s and Page’s messages, the inspector general found no evidence either of them had done anything to influence the outcome of the 2016 election in Clinton’s favor.
Republicans leapt to criticize Strzok regardless, excoriating him during the July 12 hearing and implying that he was not to be trusted.
The hearing itself was orchestrated by Rep. Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in coordination with the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. During the session, the Virginia Republican had harsh words for Strzok.
“Would anyone sitting here today believe that this was an acceptable state of affairs, particularly at an agency whose motto is ‘Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity’?” he said, asking his colleagues to imagine what it was like to be “investigated by someone who hated you,” according to the Associated Press. “I think not.”
Goodlatte also threatened to hold Strzok in contempt during that hearing, dissatisfied with the agent’s answers on the Russia probe itself.
Goodlatte has been a frequent critic of Mueller’s investigation, leading several efforts to force the FBI to turn over highly sensitive documents related to the probe so that Republican legislators could examine them. Additionally, Goodlatte, along with Republican Reps. Devin Nunes (CA) and Trey Gowdy (SC) — chairs of the House Intelligence Committee and House Oversight Committee, respectively — previously blasted the bureau for being slow to turn over all the documents requested, suggesting officials were “stonewalling.”
Those actions, among others, appear to have convinced Goodlatte’s son Bobby to turn his back on his father.
On Sunday, the younger Goodlatte announced his support for Democratic House candidate Jennifer Lewis, who is running to fill Rep. Goodlatte’s congressional seat this fall. The Virginia congressman announced earlier this year he would be retiring following November’s election, after serving 13 consecutive terms.
I just gave the maximum allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis, a democrat running for my father's congressional seat. I've also gotten 5 other folks to commit to donate the max. 2018 is the year to flip districts — let's do this! https://t.co/bYCKta2Bhs
— Bobby Goodlatte (@rsg) August 13, 2018
“I just gave the maximum allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis, a [D]emocrat running for my father’s congressional seat. I’ve also gotten 5 other folks to commit to donate the max,” he tweeted. “2018 is the year to flip districts — let’s do this!”
He tweeted again in the early morning hours on Monday, including a link to an ActBlue PAC website, where followers could donate in support of Lewis as well. “[…] Don’t just retweet—donate!!” he wrote.