After months of rumors, allegations, and whiny presidential tweets, FBI agent Peter Strzok appeared at a joint meeting of the House’s Judiciary and Oversight committees. There, he was ostensibly prepared to set the record straight regarding allegations of FBI misconduct during its investigation into Russian involvement with President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
It, um, did not go so well.
Rather than give Strzok the opportunity to explain his actions during the investigation—including a now infamous series of text messages sent to his romantic partner, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page—the hearing devolved into a total shit show full of grandstanding, chest beating, and pants-wetting on the part of the committee’s Republican leadership.
Like, for example, this wildly stupid exchange between Strzok and human Q-Tip Trey Gowdy, in which they tussled over a minor point before Gowdy began yelling loudly for some reason:
Or the part when House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte threatened to hold Strzok in contempt after he’d asked to confer with an FBI attorney about whether he could answer a question.
Goodlatte answered that Strzok could talk “only with your own counsel,” prompting Democrat Jerry Nadler to point out the obvious: “He can consult with the FBI counsel, he’s an FBI employee.”
“The gentleman is not recognized,” Goodlatte retorted, to which Nadler replied that Goodlatte himself “is not being proper,” which in congressional-ese is basically like telling someone to “go fuck yourself.”
Strzok seemed eager to mix it up with Republicans, calling the hearings a “victory notch in Putin’s belt” and reminding Gowdy that any disparaging comments he’d texted Page regarding Trump were in response to Trump being a complete piece of shit during the campaign.
At one point, Strzok’s impassioned defense of himself and the FBI (which, let’s be clear, is still evil) earned a rare congressional round of applause from House Democrats, because, why not make this whole thing a farce?
California Democrat Eric Swalwell even invoked Steve Bannon himself, suggesting that Trump’s onetime chief white supremacist should himself be held in contempt for his failure to answer questions during his House committee hearing.
If we’ve learned anything from these hearings, it’s that the Republican-held House is essentially a clown car filled with soggy diapers, and that lawmakers have better things to do with their time—like perhaps waiting for Taylor Swift to make a Capitol Hill cameo.
Update, 3:27 p.m.: The committee’s afternoon session doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement over this morning’s debacle. At one point Texas Republican Louie Gohmert drew audible groans, and at least one call to take “your medication,” from his Democratic colleagues after he referenced Strzok’s marital infidelities during his questioning.