Ryan issues warning to ex-FBI lawyer defying subpoena

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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.

Page, who worked for Andrew McCabe when he was Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director and briefly served on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's team, "was part of the mess that we've uncovered over at DOJ", Ryan said. It was then that he heard the news that she may defy the subpoena and refuse to testify and condemned it as a "total disgrace".

"Ex-FBI LAYER [sic] Lisa Page today defied a House of Representatives issued Subpoena to testify before Congress!"

If a witness does not respond to a subpoena, the full House can vote to hold that person in contempt of Congress. Ryan said Wednesday the House will "do what we need to do to protect this branch of government" and that he stands behind Goodlatte.

A handful of House Judiciary and House Oversight committee members gathered an hour after Page's interview was scheduled to start to discuss next steps. "Congressional subpoenas for testimony are not optional. It's mandatory. She needs to comply", Ryan said after a regular House GOP conference meeting.

In tweets, Trump has branded the couple the "FBI lovers" and said their bias was at the heart of Mueller's "Witch Hunt".

"It appears that Lisa Page has something to hide", he said. Page exchanged text messages critical of Donald Trump with Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok, who will testify publicly before the panels Thursday. Page and Strzok both worked on the FBI investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails and, later, on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. He will return to Capitol Hill for the hearing on Thursday, the first time he will speak publicly about the messages. 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.

As the committees have investigated bias at the Justice Department, they have focused much of their ire on Strzok.

Trump torched Page and Strzok on Tuesday while aboard Air Force One headed to Brussels.

Trump is 'not ever going to become president, right?

Strzok was removed from Mueller's team when the texts were discovered past year. "Right?!" Page wrote to Strzok.

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.

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