Fireworks fly in hearing on FBI Russia probe

(NBC) - The FBI agent removed from the Russia investigation after a series of anti-Trump text messages came to light finally had a chance to defend himself during a fiery hearing Thursday.

Once the top investigator in the Russia probe, FBI agent Peter Strzok was forced to read his own text messages that got him removed from the investigation.

House Republicans are trying to prove the investigation was politically motivated before it began.

"Trump is a disaster. Just went to a Southern Virginia Wal-Mart. I could smell the Trump support," said Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, reading one of Strzok's text messages.

Strzok said the messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page never influenced his official actions, but Republicans were not buying it.

"You need to understand that was written late at night, off the cuff and it was in response to a series of events that included then-candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero," said Strzok.

Strzok passionately defended himself and the Russia investigation, and Democrats agreed, displaying posters of the five people who have already plead guilty.