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Monday
Jul092018

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page subpoenaed by House panel for private interview

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena for Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer who exchanged text messages with FBI agent Peter Strzok critical of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, to appear on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview Wednesday morning, according to congressional officials familiar with the subpoena.

Republicans on the committees have raised concerns about political bias at the FBI and Justice Department regarding the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia probe during the 2016 presidential campaign, pointing to the text messages between Page and Strzok - who according to the report, were having an extramarital affair - as evidence of anti-Trump bias.

Page's attorney Amy Jeffress said they have been "working with the Committee staff to arrange Lisa's voluntary appearance," suggesting her client needs more time to prepare for an interview.

"We asked the Committee staff to explain the scope of the investigation and provide sufficient notice that would allow her to prepare, which are normal conditions for congressional committees, but these committees have not followed the normal process," Jeffress said in a statement. "The FBI has agreed to provide Lisa with her notes and other documents to allow her to prepare, but they have not provided those documents to date, so we are still waiting to work out a reasonable date for her interview."

"Lisa has cooperated voluntarily with another congressional committee that had no objection to explaining the scope of its investigation or providing sufficient notice for her interview. Lisa also cooperated fully with the OIG investigation and appeared voluntarily for multiple interviews, including after she left the FBI,” Jeffress added.

A committee aide said the panel expects Page to appear on Wednesday, but did not immediately respond to questions about the statement from Page's attorney.

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees have scheduled a public hearing with Strzok for later this week, following a marathon closed-door interview and a contentious open hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray two weeks ago.

A recent Justice Department inspector general report found that the actions of some agents - including the messages from Strzok and Page, who according to the report, were having an extramarital affair - damaged the FBI's credibility, but that none of the decision-making in the Clinton probe was affected by political bias.

Page served as the deputy counsel to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and worked briefly for the Mueller team, but was taken off the special counsel's staff when the text messages were discovered.

Top Republicans are still at odds with the Justice Department and FBI over a series of sensitive document requests for information related to the investigations, and some conservatives have threatened to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress or even try to impeach him over the standoff.

Last month, Rosenstein defended the pace of the document production in the joint hearing. The Justice Department, in a letter to both committees over the weekend, said it had “substantially complied” with their requests for documents and information, and was working to fulfill outstanding requests.

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