Speaker of the House Paul Ryan didn’t hold back while discussing anti-Trump FBI lawyer Lisa Page Wednesday; threatening to hold the DOJ official in “contempt of Congress” should she fail to testify before Congressional leaders.
According to Politico, Ryan was referring to Page’s recent suggestion that she may decline to speak before the House Judiciary Committee; adding he was “very disturbed” by the anti-Trump attorney’s comments.
“I am very disturbed by this,” Ryan told journalists at a press briefing Wednesday. “Congressional subpoenas for testimony are not optional. … She was a part of a mess that they have uncovered over at DOJ. She has an obligation to come testify.”
“If she wants to come plead the Fifth, that’s her choice. But a subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional. It’s mandatory. She needs to comply,” he added.
Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok made national headlines earlier this year following the release of their private text conversations; illustrating widespread anti-Trump political bias throughout the Department of Justice.
Ryan’s remarks are sure to fuel a growing confrontation between GOP lawmakers and top FBI officials who have been at the center of the president’s claims that the FBI’s Russia investigation is a “witch hunt” led by biased FBI personnel. Page’s texts with FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok — unearthed by an internal Justice Department watchdog — revealed deep animus toward Trump. But there’s also no evidence to show their personal views were translated into action.
For his part, Strzok — who testified before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees for 11 hours last month — has forcefully denied that he improperly prioritized the Russia probe in late 2016 over an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server or took actions based on anti-Trump sentiment. Strzok is due back on Capitol Hill on Thursday for a public hearing.
Page’s attorney, Amy Jeffress, claims that Page is not refusing to cooperate with the committees but had been treated unfairly and denied access to relevant FBI files necessary for her to prepare.
“Through her actions and words, Lisa has made it abundantly clear that she will cooperate with this investigation. All she is asking is to be treated as other witnesses have under the Committees’ own rules,” Jeffress said in a statement.
According to Jeffress, Page has volunteered to testify later this month, as long as she receives more details about the scope of the committees’ questioning and access to certain FBI files. Jeffress said the Justice Department confirmed late Tuesday night that the files would be made available to her.
“We are working to arrange that process quickly so that we can move forward with her appearance before the Committees,” Jeffress said, adding that in their statements, members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees were engaging in “bullying tactics.”
Not all Republicans agitating to haul Page before Congress are convinced her behavior is in bad faith.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said he understood that the FBI failed to provide relevant documents to Page that she needed in order to prepare for her deposition. He said he spoke to the FBI directly on Wednesday morning and that officials confirmed a “technical glitch” prevented them from sharing the files. Page, he noted, went to the FBI and waited for three hours to obtain her files, only to be denied.
“If indeed she showed up and waited for three hours at the FBI, shame on them,” Meadows said.
“I’m trying to confirm right now whether it’s a delay or a stall tactic,” he said. “Obviously, she’s known that she’s a witness with pertinent information … yet at the same time, I don’t want to falsely accuse her of something if this was through no fault of her own.”
Asked whether getting Page’s testimony is important in advance of Strzok’s public hearing, Meadows said it isn’t essential.
Speaking of Strzok’s hearing, here are highlights below.
Jim Jordan vs FBI Agent Peter Strzok in HEATED Exchange at Congress Hearing on Anti-Trump Texts
Louie Gohmert vs FBI Peter Strzok EXPLOSIVE Exchange at Congress Hearing about anti-Trump Texts
Complete exchange between Rep. Trey Gowdy and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 13th, 2018