The congressional hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok went off the rails Thursday afternoon, and Rep. Stephen Lynch, somehow, got caught in the subsequent social media crossfire.
Strzok appeared before the House judiciary and oversight committees to face questions, mainly from Republican lawmakers, about text messages he sent during the 2016 presidential campaign to a fellow FBI employee, with whom he was having an affair, expressing his personal distaste for President Donald Trump.
The 48-year-old longtime agent — who was removed from the Robert Mueller-led special counsel team investigating Trump following the discovery of the text messages last year — said Thursday that he never let his personal political views impact any of his official actions.
However, House Republicans, capitalizing on the text messages in an effort to discredit Mueller’s investigation, said they didn’t believe Strzok. Chief among those skeptics was Rep. Louie Gohmert, the controversial Texas firebrand, who accused Strzok of lying to lawmakers.
The unsubstantiated accusations drew forceful objections from Democrats, including from Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, who called Gohmert’s comments a “disgrace.”
“No, the disgrace is what this man has done to our justice system,” Gohmert responded.
“There is the disgrace, and it won’t be recaptured anytime soon because of the damage you’ve done to the justice system,” he continued, addressing Strzok. “And I’ve talked to FBI agents around the country. You’ve embarrassed them. You’ve embarrassed yourself. And I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eye and lie to her about Lisa Page?”
Those remarks resulted in further interjections from Democrats, who said Gohmert was harassing Strzok and impugning the agent’s character. It also spurred the observation from Ed Krassenstein, a prominent anti-Trump Twitter user, that Gohmert’s line of reasoning could also apply to the president.
“Using this thinking, he must agree that President Trump must have no credibility either since he had affairs while married to all three of his wives,” Krassenstein tweeted.
Unfortunately, due to the apparent angle of the broadcast Krassenstein was viewing, as well as an unfamiliarity with members of Congress, he misidentified Gohmert as Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, who made sure to set the record straight.
— Rep. Stephen Lynch (@RepStephenLynch) July 12, 2018
“Due to the camera angle my name plate appears to be in front of Rep. Gohmert during his questioning,” he tweeted.
And if any more clarification was needed, Lynch was also among the committee members who thought his neighbor’s remarks were out of line, according to his communications director, Micki Duncan.
“The Congressman thought Rep. Gohmert’s comments were completely inappropriate and in very poor taste,” Duncan told Boston.com in an email.
More than 5,000 retweets and 13,000 likes later, Krassenstein’s tweet had yet to be deleted or corrected as of Thursday evening.
Update: Later Thursday evening, Krassenstein deleted his tweet misidentifying Lynch and corrected himself while apologizing to the Massachusetts congressman.
Earlier today I made a tweet accusing Congressman Lynch (D-MA) of making inappropriate comments to Peter Strzok. It was not Lynch but rather Rep. Louie Gohmert is who said these things. I’d like to apologize to @RepLynch
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) July 12, 2018