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Here’s why the GOP’s threat of ‘contempt’ charges against Peter Strzok is just empty grandstanding

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On Thursday, Republican lawmakers grilled FBI agent Peter Strzok about whether his personal antipathy towards President Donald Trump—revealed in a string of text messages with his FBI colleague Lisa Page—influenced his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The exchanges grew heated, with Strzok forced to defend the integrity of the FBI against attacks by GOP lawmakers like Trey Gowdy (R-SC).

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Throughout the hearing, Republicans threatened Strzok with contempt for refusing to answer questions about the ongoing Mueller investigation.

“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 said.

In response, Sen. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) snapped, ““Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question.”

He also threatened the FBI agent with contempt of Congress.

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While it sounds dramatic, a contempt charge is not likely to lead to anything—something Peter Strzok is no doubt acutely aware of.

A contempt of Congress charge only has teeth if the U.S. Attorney for Washington D.C. decides to pursue the charges, which they tend not to do. And that’s only if the contempt charge makes it past committee and past the House.

“It makes for a great show and great sensational headlines,” Kurt Bardella, former Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, tells Raw Story. “Contempt is a great buzz word, but functionally it never leads to anything substantial.”

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Bardella points out that the GOP’s political theater in this case serves to obscure the real issues at stake.

“It further illustrates how for Republicans this is all about public relations and politics and not what they’re supposed to be doing, which is finding fact and truth,” Bardella says.

Raw Story has reached out to the U.S. Attorney for comment and will update accordingly.

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Trump encourages China to take advantage of Jay Powell and Fed: They ‘don’t have a clue’

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President Donald Trump launched a new attack against his own Federal Reserve chairman in a pair of Monday morning tweets.

The president has been publicly pressuring Fed chairman Jerome Powell to lower interest rates in hopes of staving off a recession, but the Trump appointee has so far resisted his calls.

"Producer prices in China shrank most in 3 years due to China’s big devaluation of their currency, coupled with monetary stimulus," Trump tweeted. "Federal Reserve not watching? Will Fed ever get into the game? Dollar strongest EVER! Really bad for exports. No Inflation...Highest Interest Rates..."

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Internet pummels Trump for frantic demand to investigate Obama instead: ‘This is not the tweet of an innocent man’

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President Donald Trump jealously raged against Barack Obama's post-presidency business deals, which includes a production agreement with Netflix -- and other social media users ridiculed his apparent envy.

Trump questioned that deal and others in a pair of tweets complaining about an impeachment inquiry launched against him last week by the House Judiciary Committee, and he suggested Congress look at Obama's business since he left the White House.

....work that way. I have a better idea. Look at the Obama Book Deal, or the ridiculous Netflix deal. Then look at all the deals made by the Dems in Congress, the “Congressional Slush Fund,” and lastly the IG Reports. Take a look at them. Those investigations would be over FAST!

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Is the Trump administration squelching a whistleblower — and a major scandal?

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America's system of government has always worked on the honor system. With so few Senate-confirmed Cabinet and federal agency heads, and so many “acting” officials working in the Trump administration, people who are constantly forced to audition for permanent positions are now under tremendous pressure to protect a president hellbent on breaking every norm of good governance. Now a new possible political scandal could be brewing in the Trump administration that tests the loyalty of these “acting” officials — pitting their allegiance to the nation against their desire to impress their boss.

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