Page and Peter Strzok, who testified publicly in a fiery marathon hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, are at the center of Republican concern about political bias at the FBI and Justice Department regarding the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia probe into the 2016 presidential campaign.
The partisan bickering and speeches disguised as questions brought little honor to either the House Oversight or Judiciary committees in Thursday's three-ring circus masquerading as a hearing.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob W. Goodlatte (R-Va.) cocked an eye at Strzok's claim of neutrality in the probes of Hillary Clinton's emails and the Trump campaign. "This decision is long overdue". "Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him". "The suggestion that I'm in some dark chamber somewhere in the Federal Bureau of Investigation would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards, and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me - it simply couldn't happen".
Gowdy seized on one message that has received particular attention from right-wing media outlets, an August 8, 2016, text in which Strzok, discussing with Page the prospect of a Trump win, says, "No".
"Peter Strzok's testimony was a disgrace", Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, said on Twitter.
"Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and required to answer the question", Goodlatte added. At one point, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California chimed in, saying, "This is a stupid and ridiculous hearing".
Gowdy was repeatedly interrupted through the rest of his questions, while he and Strzok got into a heated exchange.
Behind President Trump's claim of new funding from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members
Asked when exactly the allies would now reach their two percent of GDP target, Trump said it would be over the coming years. Germany, Europe's richest country, spends just 1.24% on defense, and it's an unpopular topic there.
"My presumption [was] based on that frightful, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States", Strzok explained.
Strzok's opinions about Trump dominated his Thursday hearing, as GOP lawmakers took him to task over his texts and pressed him - usually unsuccessfully - to reveal information about investigative steps and decisions he made in the Russian Federation probe.
Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was "blunt", it was not directed at one person or political party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen.
"I am certain that Congress will have the opportunity to look at any investigation once it is closed", he said. He was removed from the Russian Federation investigation previous year after the texts were discovered.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will meet with Trump in Helsinki on Monday, has repeatedly denied USA intelligence agency conclusions that Moscow interfered in the campaign and tried to help Trump.
Strzok angrily responded, saying the "we'll stop it" text came in response to campaign occurrences such as Trump insulting the immigrant father of a fallen USA soldier. An inspector general report blamed Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page for creating an appearance of impropriety through their texts but found that the outcome of the Clinton investigation was not tainted by bias. Page will attend a closed-door interview on Friday with the committees.
"This investigation is a political charade - a platform to elevate far-right conspiracy theories and undermine the special counsel's ongoing criminal investigation of the President and his campaign aides", Nadler and Cummings said in that statement.