Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.) said Thursday that he would give embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok a Purple Heart if he could.
"I don't know where to start," Cohen told Strzok to begin his questioning at a House Government Oversight Committee hearing. "If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would. You deserve one."
Cohen's praise came after Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz revealed in a report last month that Strzok, who oversaw the opening of the Russia investigation and the probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, sent text messages to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he had an extramarital affair, saying "we'll stop" Donald Trump from becoming president. Horowitz told lawmakers after the report's release that he is not confident that Strzok was unbiased during the FBI's investigation into Clinton's emails.
"This has been an attack on you and a way to attack Mr. [Robert] Mueller and the investigation that is to get at Russian conclusion involved in our election, which is what this committee should be looking at," Cohen said of Republican attacks on Strzok.
Cohen continued to praise Strzok for working on past FBI cases and dedicating most of his life to counterintelligence.
Earlier in Thursday's hearing, Strzok said the hearing plays into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands and he was proud of his work in the Russia probe, which Mueller is heading to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"I have the utmost respect for Congress's oversight role, but I strongly believe today's hearing is just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart," he said.