So much for all of the anticipated excitement in Washington today. We were all set for former FBI attorney and Team Mueller member Lisa Page to show up and testify before the House Judiciary Committee. While it was going to be a closed session, at least some of the details were likely to leak out and several of the members have quite a few questions about Page’s text messaging history with her illicit lover, Peter Strzok. But now that’s all been put on hold. Despite having been served with a subpoena to appear, Page’s lawyer announced last night that she won’t be showing up. (Washington Times)
Lisa Page, the former anti-Trump FBI lawyer and member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, said Tuesday evening that she will not attend a House committee hearing for which she had been subpoeanaed.
According to CNN, Ms. Page will not attend the planned deposition hearing by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees over access to her papers at the FBI, which had previously been provided to Congress
Page attorney Amy Jeffress, in a statement tweeted out by CNN reporter Laura Jarrett, said her client had only been subpoenaed four days before the planned hearing and needed more time to prepare…
The attorney said her client has asked the Committee to schedule another date that would allow sufficient time for her to prepare.”
Since Page is an attorney herself and she has her own lawyer speaking for her I assume they must know something I don’t about how this process works. When you receive a subpoena to appear before Congress you can certainly contact them and request a postponement if you have a good reason for it. And that’s just what Lisa Page did. But the Judiciary Committee chose not to grant that request.
So what happens now? In theory, Page could be charged with contempt of Congress. That carries a penalty of between one and twelve months in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $1,000. But it requires some extraordinary circumstances before they hand out penalties like that. Page’s attorney is making it sound as if she has every intention of complying but simply wants to review the materials she’ll be asked about in advance.
In a courtroom setting involving something more complicated, that sort of request would probably be seen as nothing unusual and the delay might have been readily granted. But what “material” could they be planning on asking Page about? Almost certainly the questions will have to do with her text messages and how she felt about Donald Trump and whether or not that impacted her job performance. What is there to review? Those are her own messages so surely she’s already “familiar” with them.
But even assuming there is some real need to “review” the material, couldn’t Page just show up and answer all of the questions by taking the Fifth and saying she declines to answer on advice of counsel until she’s better prepared? They can’t punish her for taking the Fifth and then she wouldn’t be exposed to the potential perils of ignoring a subpoena. It just seems to me that some members of the committee are already in a rather foul mood over her involvement in all of this and bailing out on the hearings at the eleventh hour isn’t going to do anything to improve their outlook.