Embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok’s Thursday appearance in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees was disrupted when he refused to answer questions and angry Democrats tried to hijack the hearing.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte threatened Strzok with criminal liability if he refused to answer a question from Rep. Trey Gowdy, as Strzok insisted that FBI lawyers counseled him not to answer any questions about ongoing investigations.
“Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question,” Goodlatte asserted.
Ranking Member Nadler interrupted Goodlatte with a point of order and defended Strzok from having to answer the committee’s questions, but Goodlatte shot back, “the point of order is not well taken.”
“Mr. Strzok, you have not stated a valid legal basis for not responding to a question directed to you by the United States House of Representatives,” Goodlatte said. “Either comply with the committee’s directive or refuse to do so, the latter of which will place you at risk of a contempt citation and potential criminal liability.”
Nadler tried to appeal Goodlatte’s ruling that Strzok has to answer the committee’s questions, and eventually Democrats Sheila Jackson Lee and David Cicilline interrupted the hearing as well.
“Mr. Chairman is it not appropriate to also interject the attorney client privilege which cannot be overridden?” Jackson Lee declared, citing the FBI counseling Strzok not to answer questions.
“The gentleman will suspend!” Goodlatte responded angrily.
“Point of parliamentary inquiry!” Cicilline shouted out as Goodlatte finally tried to allow Gowdy to finish his questioning.
The hearing continued in chaos as Democrats continued to ask for points of order and Goodlatte struggled to retain order.