Well, it looks as though I have a little more time to write my “20 Questions for Lisa Page,” because Page is defying her subpoena and refusing to show up for her Wednesday closed-door hearing before two House committees, Judiciary and Oversight.
I guess the first question now will have to be, “What makes you think you get to defy a subpoena?”
Her lawyer, Amy Jeffress, has said it’s because they weren’t provided with the scope of the interview and that Page, the former top legal assistant to then-FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe, hadn’t been able to view the materials that had been produced for Congress, such as the anti-Trump text messages she exchanged with similarly anti-Trump FBI agent and extramarital squeeze Peter Strzok.
Wait a minute --- doesn’t she already HAVE those thousands of text messages? Considering they’re the very ones Strzok sent to her, along with the ones she tapped out herself with her own two apparently-bionic thumbs, it would seem likely that she’s already quite familiar with them and is not going to be blindsided. Unless, of course, she’s worried that Congress has uncovered even more damning exchanges and wants to know in advance what they’ve got.
On behalf of her client, Jeffress complained, “We have asked the Committees to schedule another date that would allow sufficient time for her to prepare. The Committees have not honored this request. As a result, Lisa is not going to appear for an interview at this time.”
Again, one big problem with that: she is defying a lawful subpoena. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia maintains that she has no excuse --- that she has known for months that she would be called and has had plenty of time to prepare. She could now be held in contempt of Congress for failure to appear. It should be noted that Paul Manafort, caught up in the Trump/Russia investigation for having the misfortune of being, very briefly, the head of Trump’s campaign, is now sitting in solitary confinement 23 hours out of every 24 until his trial on charges that have nothing to do with Russian “collusion” or even with Donald Trump personally. Will Page face any consequences at all for her stunning contempt of court? How about “three hots and a cot” until she cooperates?
“We will use all tools at our disposal to obtain her testimony,” Goodlatte said. “Americans across the country are alarmed at the bias exhibited by top officials at the Justice Department and FBI, and it is imperative Congress conduct vigorous oversight to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”
Judiciary Committee member Ron DeSantis of Florida called her refusal to appear “pathetic,” while fellow member Jim Jordan of Ohio said this was yet another example of the double standard, “one set of rules for regular Americans, a different set for the Swamp!” Oversight Committee member Mark Meadows of North Carolina called her failure to comply with a congressional subpoena “indefensible.”
When (if?) Strzok appears for his public hearing on Thursday, it will now be without the context that might have been provided by Page’s closed-door hearing that was supposed to have come the day before. I’ll bet that consideration has a lot more to do with Page’s decision not to appear than her lack of “sufficient time” to prepare does.
Strzok and Page both worked on Robert Mueller’s team, and they obviously fit right in with the pro-Hillary, anti-Trump spirit there. Page left the team as their emails were brought to Mueller's attention, and Strzok was demoted and transferred to Human Resources, where he cooled his heels and collected a paycheck until finally being stripped of his security clearance and escorted out the door of the FBI.
Before his stint with the special counsel, Strzok had been –- amazingly –- the lead FBI investigator on both the Hillary email case and the Trump/Russia “collusion” probe, which could very well explain a lot about the misuse of power at the FBI. Yet his closed-door hearing before congressional committees a couple of weeks ago netted little except frustration, as he did at least appear but then refused to answer the key questions. Perhaps committee members are treating that session as just a warm-up for his public hearing this Thursday.
That is, if he decides to show up.
Incidentally, speaking of Manafort, Byron York has a great column about the latest developments in his case. Read it and be stunned at the game of hardball Mueller is playing, apparently without any evidence whatsoever of “collusion” or misconduct on the part of Trump.