Republicans demand interview with ex-FBI lawyer this week

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page

An attorney for former Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Lisa Page says she will not appear for a private interview Wednesday with two House committees, despite a subpoena.

Page was subpoenaed to appear for a private interview Wednesday, but her lawyer informed the committees Tuesday that she would not show up.

If a witness does not respond to a subpoena, the full House can vote to hold her in contempt of Congress. During the 2016 presidential campaign they exchanged text messages that suggested they would take whatever action was necessary to prevent Donald Trump from being elected President and to secure Hillary Clinton's election.

Page and Strzok - paramours while working within the agency - worked on the FBI's Hillary Clinton email investigation as well as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

"Lisa Page is a key witness, and it is critical that she come before our committees to answer questions as part of our investigation", Goodlatte added.

"Lisa and I went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation today to review the materials that were previously produced to Congress relating to her proposed interview, but after waiting for more than three hours, we were not provided with any documents", Jeffress said in a statement.

The president has repeatedly painted Mueller's investigation as a tainted witch-hunt led by Democrats.

Goodlatte said that he doesn't buy Page's claim that she couldn't sufficiently prepare, noting the committees informed Page in December they would seek to speak to her. "Americans across the country are alarmed at the bias exhibited by top officials at the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and it is imperative Congress conduct vigorous oversight to ensure that never happens again".

Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the threat of holding Page in contempt was a "charade", arguing there was no reason why she couldn't review the documents and come in for an interview next week. "We expect them to agree to another date so that Lisa can appear before the Committees in the near future".

But in a scathing report released last month, the Justice Department's inspector general found that several FBI employees, including Strzok, had compromised the agency's appearance of objectivity by voicing their political beliefs during ongoing investigations.

The Judiciary and Oversight panels have already spent much of the summer holding hearings and interviews critical of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department.

But her lawyer said Page will testify at some point. President Trump has seized on the Strzok and Page's texts to denounce the Mueller probe as nothing more than a "witch hunt".

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page backed away from a planned interview on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Republicans have said they disagree with that conclusion, which will likely be a significant focus of Thursday's public hearing.

The Judiciary Committee also held a contentious hearing June 28 with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

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