GOP lawmakers threaten to hold FBI agent in contempt

By Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Republicans sparred with FBI agent Peter Strzok from the very first question at a hearing Thursday over politically charged investigations, threatening him with a contempt citation for refusing, at the direction of an FBI lawyer, to answer questions about the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Strzok, who was the lead agent on FBI probes into Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign and is now the subject of an internal misconduct probe, was asked by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, how many individuals he interviewed in the first week of the Russia probe in the summer of 2016.

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“I will not, based on direction of the FBI . . . answer that question, because it goes to matters which are related to the ongoing investigations being undertaken by the special counsel’s office,” Strzok replied, at a joint hearing of the Judiciary and Oversight committees.

At that point, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, interjected, threatening Strzok with a contempt citation if he did not answer the question.

“Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question,” Goodlatte said.

Democrats immediately challenged Goodlatte, accusing him of treating Strzok unfairly and seeking unsuccessfully to adjourn the hearing.

In opening the hearing, Goodlatte said Strzok and other senior FBI officials “turned our system of justice on its head, and that’s why we’re here, and why this matters.”

The ranking Democrat on the panel, Jerrold Nadler of New York, urged Republicans not to use the Strzok hearing to attack special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I know that the majority …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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