F.B.I. Agent at Center of Russia Probe Turns Tables on G.O.P.

F.B.I. Agent at Center of Russia Probe Turns Tables on G.O.P.

“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Mr. Strzok replied.

House Republicans and Mr. Trump have seized on those texts, charging that they undercut the integrity of the Russia investigation, which has since been taken over by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Republican lawmakers were prepared to confront the former agent with volumes of such messages on Thursday.

Mr. Strzok said that he deeply regretted the messages, but that they did not amount to more than private political beliefs.

“In the summer of 2016, we had an urgent need to protect the integrity of an American presidential election from a hostile foreign power determined to weaken and divide the United States of America,” he was to say. “This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax.”

A former Army officer, Mr. Strzok has worked at the F.B.I. for more than two decades. He rose quickly through its ranks, earning a reputation within the bureau as one of its most savvy and reliable counterintelligence agents. It was that reputation and increasingly senior positions that landed him on the teams investigating both Mrs. Clinton and eventually Mr. Trump.

The inspector general’s report was unsparing in its criticism of Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page, but found no evidence that their personal views had affected prosecutorial decisions in the Clinton case. The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, continues to investigate the F.B.I.’s handling of key aspects of the Russia case.

Mr. Strzok, who spent a contentious day locked behind closed doors for an interview with the same lawmakers late last month, did not have kind words for the Republicans leading the committee.

The committees have also demanded testimony from Ms. Page, issuing a subpoena for her to appear in private for an interview and threatening her with contempt when she did not meet that deadline. Lawyers for Ms. Page said she was happy to testify, but only after the F.B.I. allowed her to review her notes and relevant case files. Two Republican chairmen issued an ultimatum on Wednesday that Ms. Page either testify alongside Mr. Strzok on Thursday or appear in private on Friday.

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