An FBI official will testify Thursday before two House committees investigating allegations of bias in the agency against President Donald Trump.
Updated 10:33 a.m. | The attorney for former Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Lisa Page, who refused to testify Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, said her client plans to testify and that the committee's "bullying tactics" are unnecessary.
Still, President Trump has often disparaged both Page and Strzok while deriding Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russian Federation. Both were removed from the Mueller probe previous year after the Justice Department's internal watchdog made the special counsel aware of the anti-Trump messages.
Page's attorney said Tuesday that she wouldn't appear for a private interview Wednesday with the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, despite a subpoena.
Page and Strzok became the center of the controversy about alleged political bias within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department after their text messages were released.
"How can the Rigged Witch Hunt proceed when it was started, influenced and worked on, for an extended period of time, by former FBI Agent/Lover Peter Strzok?". She is facing charges of contempt of Congress after failing to appear Wednesday for private meetings with the Judiciary and Oversight committees. "We are working to arrange that process quickly so that we can move forward with her appearance before the Committees".
Her lawyer, Amy Jeffress, said the lawmakers issued the subpoena too late, putting Page at a disadvantage.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte confirmed in an interview on Fox News that Page has been given those options to appear this week, but if she doesn't, she could be held in contempt as soon as Friday. "But a subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional; it's mandatory".
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A report by the Justice Department's internal watchdog released last month detailed the inflammatory texts between the two, including an exchange in which Strzok wrote "we'll stop it" in reference to a potential Trump election win.
Jeffress said in a statement prior to the contempt threat that Page could not appear without first having access to Federal Bureau of Investigation documents that the committees already possessed, and that they had ignored her efforts to find a later date for the deposition. Democrats have strongly objected to the GOP-led investigation, saying it is an attempt to undermine Mueller's probe and sway public opinion against investigators.
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. Trump tweeted over the weekend.
It appears neither Page nor Strzok have had access to a transcript of the deposition.
In one message on August 8, 2016, Strzok reassured Page that she needn't worry about Trump winning the White House.
"Americans across the country are alarmed at the bias exhibited by top officials at the Justice Department and FBI", Goodlatte said.
Republicans have said they disagree with that conclusion, which will likely be a significant focus of Thursday's public hearing.
Strzok was interviewed behind closed doors by the committees for 11 hours last month.