The embattled F.B.I. agent who oversaw the opening of the Russia investigation mounted an aggressive personal defense on Thursday, rejecting accusations that he let his private political views bias his official actions and labeling Republican attacks on him “another victory notch in Putin’s belt.”
“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” the agent, Peter Strzok, was to tell House lawmakers investigating what they say is evidence of rampant bias at the top levels of the F.B.I.
In his first public comments, he concluded his prepared remarks with a pointed broadside against his antagonizers.
“I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity,” Mr. Strzok planned to say, continuing: “I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
He concluded: “As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.”
Mr. Strzok, a career agent, played a pivotal role in two of the bureau’s most politically fraught cases: the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices as secretary of state and a separate inquiry into Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election and its interactions with the Trump campaign.