Bob Goodlatte is the Republican congressman who threatened FBI agent Peter Strzok with contempt during a Congressional hearing today.
The 65 year old Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, evidently became frustrated when Strzok refused to answer questions about the FBI’s probe into possible links between the Russian government and President Trump’s campaign.
“Mr. Strzok, please be advised that you can either comply with the committee’s directive to answer the question, or refuse to do so. The latter of which will place you at risk of a contempt citation and potential criminal liability,” Goodlatte said.
After that, the hearing reportedly fell apart, with congressmembers on each side of the aisle bickering about which questions Strzok should have to answer.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Goodlatte Grew Up in Massachussetts, Working at Friendly’s and Painting School Buses
Goodlatte is a native of Holyoke, Massachussetts. He had a modest upbringing and says that he spent a lot of his youth working for his father’s Friendly’s restaurant. A little later, he got a job painting school buses for the Blue Bird bus company.
Goodlatte got a law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, and was in private practice until 1992, when he was elected to Congress. He represents Virginia’s 6th congressional district.
2. Goodlatte Lives In Roanoke, VA With His Wife, “Super Lawyer” MaryEllen Goodlatte
Goodlatte has been married to his wife, Maryellen, for more than 40 years. They have two children, Jennifer and Bobby, who grew up in Roanoke. Jennifer married Matt Barblan, a New York lawyer, in 2010. Jennifer and Matt met at the University of Virginia, and both of them hold law degrees from that university.
The Goodlattes also have grandchildren.
MaryEllen Goodlatte is a lawyer who specializes in real estate and business law. She was included in Virginia Lawyers Weekly’s first list of the “Influential Women of Virginia” and is currently listed as one of Virginia’s Top 50 Women “Super Lawyers.”
3. Goodlatte’s Net Worth Has Been Estimated At Over 3 Million Dollars
According to the website Open Secrets, which provides data on the finances of American politicians, Goodlatte’s net worth was $3,406,023 in 2015.
This puts him at 106th in the ranking of Congressmembers’ net worth. There are 535 members of Congress.
4. Goodlatte Has Come Under Fire For His “Mass Deportation” Immigration Policies
In January, Goodlatte sponsored an immigration reform bill. The bill was formally titled the Securing America’s Future Act. But critics of the bill quickly dubbed it the Mass Deportation Act.
Representative Lujan Grisham, of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said, “The Mass Deportation Act is a farce of a bill. The bill undermines local law enforcement, it hurts farmers, hurts families, guts legal immigration; and aims to rip apart communities through mass deportation, while only providing Dreamers with temporary protections and no pathway to citizenship.”
5. Goodlatte Has Also Threatened Strzok’s Ex Girlfriend, Lisa Page, With Contempt
Earlier this week, Goodlatte said he would charge FBI lawyer Lisa Page with contempt if she didn’t agree to a private interview with two House committees. Page had been subpoenaed to appear before Congress to testify about emails that she allegedly exchanged with Peter Strzok. Republican lawmakers, as well as President Trump, have said that Strzok and Page, who were having an affair, were biased against Trump and that this influenced the FBI Russia investigation. They say the pair exchanged emails which prove that they were biased.
After being issued the subpoena, Page had initially refused to appear for a deposition, saying that she was not prepared. But she later agreed to “voluntarily” come to a private interview — something which Goodlatte called “an important and positive development.”