Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today delivered the following statement during the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees’ join hearing on “Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions Surrounding the 2016 Election: Testimony by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.”
Chairman Goodlatte: Good morning. I wish this hearing were not necessary. Many children grow up wanting to become FBI agents, to catch bad guys and protect the American people. I have little doubt that our witness today has done that very thing during his many years serving as a FBI special agent. A special agent’s mission is a vitally important business to which we dedicate some of our best and brightest.
However, this is precisely why our joint investigation is such an anomaly. We want the FBI and DOJ to be off the front pages, and to return to doing what they are best at – battling crime, terrorism, and espionage and protecting all of us from harm. We don’t want to read text message after text message dripping with bias against one of the two presidential candidates. We don’t enjoy finding compelling evidence that the FBI Director had predetermined the outcome of the case months in advance.
But that is, thus far, what we have found. And these are only small pieces of the larger puzzle. The more information we acquire, the more interviews we conduct, and the more sources we contact, the more we learn. It has, unfortunately, taken a great deal of effort to get our Executive branch agencies to cooperate with our legitimate Congressional oversight. But we have made substantial progress. It is a credit to our investigative task force members and staff.
For all those in this room who continue to disparage our investigation as mere conspiracy theory, and for all those who have chosen to ignore serious irregularities and potential crimes that we have uncovered, I say this: imagine if you were under investigation, and the investigator hated you, disparaged you in all manner of ways, and fraternized with another employee working on your case who also hated you, denigrated your supporters, and made crucial investigative decisions on how your case should be treated and eventually adjudicated. 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”?
I think not. To my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, please replace President Trump’s name with your own name in a small sample of things Mr. Strzok has said. Envision how you would feel if you found out that the chief agent investigating you as a Member of Congress was making these comments: “F Trump,” “Trump is a disaster,” “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support” – or, perhaps most alarmingly and revealingly, “We’ll stop it” – referring directly to Mr. Trump’s candidacy for President.
In fact, for those who think we are wasting time in this committee, suppose all of this had been said about candidate Obama before he was elected, or even more topical, about Hillary Clinton while she was running in the same election. Would we be where we are today? The only honest answer is an absolute affirmative, “YES”! Of course we would be here because every single Democrat would be protesting bias and discrimination against their preferred candidates by an out-of-control FBI and DOJ. So please stop saying this doesn’t matter and is only the product of conspiracy theory.
Instead, the American people hope you will understand that this investigation goes to the very heart of our system of justice, one that is supposed to be fair and treat everyone equally under the law. Mr. Strzok and others inside the FBI and DOJ turned our system of justice on its head. That is why we’re here and why this matters.
Yesterday, Chairman Gowdy and I received a letter from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, raising numerous objections about the nature of our investigation. These claims are largely spurious. I have responded publicly to them before. However, these claims are also revealing. The final line of that letter states that our Democratic colleagues will “undertake efforts to protect [their] rights.” I implore my friends not to continue their efforts to undermine this investigation. And as for their “rights,” I submit the rights that should concern us are the rights of the American people – namely, to know the facts; to trust that their law enforcement agencies are operating fairly and justly; and to feel secure in the knowledge that no one is above the law.