Thursday's marathon 10-hour hearing for Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok was so controversial it was labelled "a new low in the United States Congress".
But in defending himself and his agency, Strzok had to weather hours of attacks by Republicans, whose accusations drifted from personal animus toward President Donald Trump to blatant lying and moral misconduct with a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer, Lisa Page. Strzok, a seasoned counterintelligence agent, helped lead both investigations but has since been reassigned to human resources.
"At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took", Strzok said.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for engaging in "large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election".
But Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., cut him off and asked him to withdraw the assertion that Strzok had lied.
At the center of suspicion surrounding him are a series of text messages he exchanged with his lover, former Federal Bureau of Investigation attorney Lisa Page.
Strzok struck a combative tone throughout the hearing, telling congressmen, "Today's hearing is just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart".
House Democrats accused Republicans of using Strzok to undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation.
Strzok later replied that he has "always told the truth".
Strzok is testifying publicly on Capitol Hill for the first time since the release of a Justice Department inspector general report that heavily criticized his comments.
The hearing lasted five hours and may resume on Monday. It also reflects an effort to shift attention away from the content of Strzok's texts and onto what he says is the more pressing issue: the Russians' "grave attack" on American democracy and continuing efforts to divide the country.
Gohmert said he meant to ask Strzok about an allegation that the agent was told by Intelligence Community Inspector General's investigator Frank Rucker that an "anomaly" was found in the metadata within Clinton's unauthorized private email server. Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe after the text messages were discovered previous year, while Page had already left.