Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday he is ready to hold former FBI attorney Lisa Page in contempt of Congress if she continues defying a congressional subpoena to reply questions anti-Donald Trump wording exchanges.
I am very disturbed by this, Ryan told reporters in a news conference. Congressional subpoenas for testimony will not be optional. … She was really a section of a mess they have uncovered from DOJ. My wife a responsibility to come back testify.
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Ryan later added: If sherrrd like in the future plead your fifth, thats her choice. But a subpoena to testify before Congress seriously isn’t optional. Its mandatory. She ought to comply.
Ryans comments backed up House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who issued the subpoena for Pages testimony on Saturday and blasted Pages decision to skip a Wednesday morning deposition. Its unclear in the event the House might relocate to hold Page in contempt or whether an understanding are available to generate Page in later this month.
Ryans remarks are sure to fuel an evergrowing confrontation between GOP lawmakers and top FBI officials who have been in the center within the president’s claims how the FBIs Russia investigation is a witch hunt led by biased FBI personnel. Pages texts with FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok unearthed by an interior Justice Department watchdog revealed deep animus toward Trump. But theres also no evidence to demonstrate their personal views were translated into action.
For his part, Strzok who testified ahead of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees for 11 hours last month has forcefully denied that she improperly prioritized the Russia probe at the end of 2016 over a study into Hillary Clintons email server or took actions based on anti-Trump sentiment. Strzok is born back on Capitol Hill on Thursday for just a public hearing.
Pages attorney, Amy Jeffress, said Wednesday morning that Page is not really refusing to cooperate while using the committees but have been treated unfairly and denied use of relevant FBI files necessary for her to prepare.
Through her actions and words, Lisa makes it abundantly clear they will cooperate using this type of investigation. All she will be asking might be treated as other witnesses have under the Committees own rules, Jeffress said inside of a statement.
According to Jeffress, Page has volunteered to testify later this month, so long as she receives much more information for the scope from the committees questioning and access to certain FBI files. Jeffress said the Justice Department confirmed late Tuesday night that the files might be distributed around her.
We are working to make that process quickly so we can easily proceed with her appearance ahead of the Committees, Jeffress said, adding that inside their statements, folks the home Judiciary and Oversight committees were starting bullying tactics.
Not all Republicans agitating to haul Page before Congress assume her behavior is within bad faith.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said he understood that your FBI neglected to provide relevant documents to Page that she required by to prepare for her deposition. He explained he spoke on the FBI directly on Wednesday morning knowning that officials confirmed a technical glitch prevented them from sharing the files. Page, he noted, went along to the FBI and waited for three hours to have her files, just to be denied.
If indeed she showed up and waited for 3 hours for the FBI, shame with them, Meadows said.
Im trying to confirm right now whether its a delay or perhaps stall tactic, he said. Obviously, shes known that shes a witness with pertinent information yet together, I dont prefer to falsely accuse her of something if this type of was through no-fault of her very own.
Asked whether getting Pages testimony is significant prior to Strzoks public hearing, Meadows said hello isnt essential.
We may have to keep coming back and ask Peter Strzok additional questions once we ask her questions, he stated. Certainly, it’s not the primary or perhaps the last time that well be asking Peter Strzok questions while it works with the bias we feel existed in the investigation.
Meadows testamonials are notable hes been very aggressive critics of Strzok and Pages word exchanges, insisting that theyre proof of deep-seated bias among the officials in control of the FBIs investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election and potential collusion amongst the Kremlin and Trump campaign.
Meadows’ comments were also at odds with that surrounding Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a top-notch House conservative and ally of Meadows, who said he thinks Republicans may issue another subpoena for Pages testimony and will ultimately hold her in contempt for defying Congress.
Democrats were largely silent around the unfolding dispute just one Judiciary Committee member, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), suggested Page should testify all the while he took a jab at Trumps reluctance to do a job interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.
It is wrong for Lisa Page not to consult investigators for the exact same reason it really is wrong for @realDonaldTrump to not ever speak with investigators, he tweeted. There is no requirement that investigators must provide information upfront to the witness, subject or possibly a target in advance of conversing with them.