GOP Sen. Hawley calls ex-FBI agent's 'open disdain' for Trump the 'real crisis' during Barr testimony

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., used his time to question Attorney General William Barr during Wednesday’s testimony on Capitol Hill to lay into former FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page for their “open disdain, if not outright hatred for Trump voters."

Hawley, a freshman senator who previously served as Missouri’s attorney general, lambasted Strzok for his animosity toward President Trump and his supporters, and accused the former FBI agent of attempting to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

“An unelected official in this government who clearly has open disdain, if not outright hatred for Trump voters,” Hawley said from the dais on Wednesday, mentioning a text Strzok sent from a southern Virginia Walmart, where he said he could “SMELL the Trump support.”

“Then (he) tried to overturn the results of a democratic election.”

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Hawley added: “I cannot believe that a top official of this government, with the kind of power these people have, would try to exercise their own prejudices - and that is what this is: it’s open, blatant prejudices – and would try to use that to overturn a democratic election.”

“That's the real crisis here," the Missouri lawmaker said.

Hawley’s comments came in the midst of a tense hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Barr repeatedly defended his actions surrounding the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report.

Democrats interrogated the attorney general on questions of obstruction of justice and the timing of the release of the report, while Republicans focused on Russia’s actions in 2016 and the investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Strzok and Page were first brought into the spotlight in December 2017, when it was revealed that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz discovered a series of anti-Trump text messages between the two officials, who were romantically involved.

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Strzok and Page both served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election. Page served on the special counsel’s team on a short detail, returning back to the FBI’s Office of General Counsel in July 2017.

The discovery of the anti-Trump messages exchanged with Page ultimately got Strzok booted from Mueller’s team and reassigned last year to the FBI’s office of human resources. He was eventually fired last August.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.