CNN “New Day” host John Berman on Thursday shut down hardline Donald Trump supporter Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, after the Republican representative compared FBI agent Peter Strzok to a homeless car mechanic.
Speaking with Berman, Gaetz admitted, contrary to Trump’s early morning tweet, that Russia is meddling in the U.S. elections.
“You were just roughly 6 billion times tougher on Vladimir Putin and Russian meddling than President Trump has ever been,” Berman said, prompting Gaetz to insist Trump knows Putin is a liar.
“I wouldn't know how you would know that because I've never heard the president say that unless it's come up in a private discussion,” Berman replied. “There's no indication the president thinks that, would you agree?”
“I'm not going to get into my private conversations with the president,’ Gaetz said, adding “all Americans know Vladimir Putin lies.”
Berman then asked Gaetz about the closed-door hearing with Peter Strzok, an FBI agent formerly on Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, who was removed after sending texts critical of Trump.
“My impression after hearing Peter Strzok's side of the story is that Robert Mueller was just, like, categorically uncurious about the text message that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were sending to go each other,” Gaetz alleged. “Would you think when Robert Mueller found those text messages he would be asking all kinds of questions about whether or not bias impacted the collection of evidence or investigative decisions. I was shocked at the lack of curiosity from Robert Mueller. It was almost as if he did not want to know the answers to those questions.”
Berman noted he can only take Gaetz’s “word” on what went on behind closed doors at the House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, then asked is Mueller took “appropriate action” in removing Strzok from his post.
“It wasn't the only appropriate action because we have to find out whether or not Peter Strzok tainted the investigation with the manipulation of the evidence,” Gaetz insisted.
“Isn't that the inspector general's job?” Berman asked.
Gates launched into a long rant about Mueller’s “staffing decisions” before suggesting the Russia investigation was “tainted by bias” and a compromised agent was “making administrative decisions based on bias.”
After receiving pushback from Berman, Gaetz replied: “So hold on, John. If a mechanic was working on your car and you found out he was not a mechanic, he was just a homeless person. Before you would fire him, you would probably, say, what did you do under the hood to my car before you would move on?”
“Peter Strzok is neither a mechanic nor a homeless person,” Berman replied.