(CNSNews.com) - "This is an integrity issue," Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) told an indignant Peter Strzok at Thursday's contentious hearing on Capitol Hill.
Strzok bridled at the comment, calling it "insulting." "I take offense, it is incorrect," he added.
Walker focused his questioning on the volume of Strzok's text messages with his lover Lisa Page -- around 50,000 messages exchanged between the two of them on their FBI-issued cell phones, mostly at work.
"Let's talk about the volume of texts, if we could, please. Fifty thousand texts over this timeframe, is that the number that you understand?" Walker asked Strzok.
"That is a number I've heard," Strzok replied.
"And you even testified today, under oath, there's many more on your personal phone, which blows me away -- sometimes over 100 texts a day while you're supposed to be doing your job," Walker said.
Strzok said several times that most of the texts are work-related: "Sir, if you look at those texts, the huge majority of them are in fact related to work minutia and administrative things." Strzok and Lisa Page were involved in the Clinton email investigation, the Trump-Russia investigation and -- for a while -- the special counsel investigation.
Walker told Strzok, "James Comey has talked about how the Midyear (Clinton email) investigative team was the A-team, spending every waking moment to complete the investigation. How does this statement square with the amount of time you seem to spend texting Lisa Page on working days?"
"Sir, the majority of those texts, the grand majority, were work-related matters," Strzok replied. "Of the many, many things I've been accused of -- some which are true and horrible -- one of them...is not being lazy. So I can assure you that those texts and what they represent is work -- and work that was going on frequently from 5 o’clock in the morning until 11 o'clock at night. So I would encourage you, sir, if you want to read through the 50,000, and have somebody catalogue--"
"That's astronomically high," Walker cut in. "You're talking 6- to 7-hundred per week, so don't give me that 'this was all work-related texts'...but the other point I want to make here, is that this is an integrity issue. And that's part of the problem here.
"We talked about the texts -- and no, you're right, they weren't all on official time, like making fun of the Trump people at the Wal-Mart. You're right. Some of those were in your spare time," Walker said. "But I believe there is a credibility issue, and that's probably one of the reasons that Mr. Mueller decided to take you offf this particular case. I believe you cannot sit there and tell us, as you testified earlier today, you didn't know for sure why he did, but I believe it's pretty obvious to the American people that you have so discredited the FBI that you were removed from this case."
When Strzok got a chance to respond, he said he wanted to address Walker's comment about integrity:
"When you bring up an integrity issue, it is interesting, you and the gentleman from Texas raised this in a way that almost, you know, approaches -- it is insulting...I am here under oath. I am not lying, I have never lied under oath, and I never will.
"So the insinuation -- not even the insinuation, the direct comment that you somehow say, 'you have an integrity issue' is insulting. I take offense, it is incorrect. Nothing I have said here today--"
"I never mentioned your personal life," Walker interrupted. "I just simply said the amount of time that you were spending on taxpayers' dollar, wasting it, when you were supposed to be doing your job, texting back and forth with her is a problem."
Strzok tried to say something else, but the committee chair cut him off because time was up.