Former FBI attorney Lisa Page and Taylor Swift had something in common Wednesday.
Neither visited the U.S. Capitol.
But that’s not to say that denizens of Capitol Hill weren’t expecting both Page and Swift to surface in the marbled halls of Congress.
After all, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Page for a closed-door deposition Wednesday. Page is the former FBI lawyer who worked on the Russia investigation under Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But it was discovered Page exchanged scores of anti-Trump texts with FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok.
Page defied the subpoena and didn’t show Wednesday. Page’s attorney says the committee needs to explain the scope of its questioning. Lawmakers deposed Strzok for nine hours behind closed doors two weeks ago. Strzok is slated to testify at a public hearing Thursday.
Swift was in town for a pair of concerts this week. She played one show Tuesday night at FedEx Field in suburban Washington. Another performance came Wednesday night just blocks from the Capitol at Nats Park. Rumor and speculation are a way of life in Congress. It’s not clear exactly what spark lit the fuse Wednesday. But word speed across Capitol Hill that Swift was due at the Russell Senate Office Building for a meeting…..
No. That’s not it. She was in the Rayburn Room just off the House floor.
Wait a minute. Wasn’t that her entourage spotted by the Hall of Columns near the House carriage entrance?
Or, maybe, just maybe, Swift was spotted in the Capitol Rotunda……
Was she on a Congressional tour? Was a lucky intern showing her around? A senator? A With whom was she meeting? Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)? Is this like when Bono and the Edge come to Congress as they do periodically?
This is kind of how things just roll on Capitol Hill. People may expect Lisa Page.
But then Taylor Swift comes to Congress instead.
Congressional interns sporting seasonal, green Congressional ID badges and Senate pages adorned in crisp, dark blue uniforms rushed to the the Russell Building Wednesday afternoon. They prowled the Russell corridors in packs, searching for Swift.
Don Stewart, Communications Director for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted a picture of a woman with golden tresses strutting through the Rotunda. Reporters and photographers flitted about, stalking the elusive Swift as though on a big game hunt.
The late-Rep. Al Swift, D-Wash., served eight terms in Congress, retiring in 1995. Yet the Washington Democrat never commanded as much attention in politics as the slippery Taylor Swift managed in a single afternoon.
For a while, people thought Swift was somewhere in the Capitol complex, but traversed the building with the stealth of Macavity in Cats. After all, this is the artist who sings “I make the moves up as I go” in "Shake it Off." In "Blank Space," Swift sings “Baby, I know places we won’t be found” and “they are the hunters, we are the foxes.” If Swift did materialize, stars truck aides and interns seeking autographs and pictures would declare “Nice to meet you. Where you been?”
Fox checked with multiple, high-level Congressional sources in both the House and Senate who handle protocol and security. Fox was told there was “no official” expectation for Swift to appear. But one source reminded Fox that there are public tours, open to anyone. Any human being can walk up to the Capitol Visitor’s Center, obtain a free ticket and go on a tour without anyone knowing who you are. Moreover, the House and Senate Office Buildings are open to the public. In other words, Swift could just show up on her own without navigating the official Congressional channels.
“Maybe she doesn’t want people to know (she’s coming),” noted one well-placed source.
Swifties gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate this next nugget. But here goes:
She may be Taylor Swift. But compared to Capitol Hill visits by foreign leaders, cabinet secretaries in the line of presidential succession and other dignitaries, Swift qualifies as a low-priority protectee.
By the end of the day, as far as anyone could tell, Taylor Swift never darkened the doors of Congress.
Austin Scott is playing the title role in the production of “Hamilton” at the Kennedy Center this summer. By contrast, Scott waltzed through the Rotunda with his family Monday with zero fanfare compared to the pandemonium surrounding Swift’s apparition. Note this is the actor Austin Scott, not Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA). The thespian Scott hails from the district of Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and posed with the statue of Alexander Hamilton in the Rotunda. Few noticed.
In Fearless, Taylor Swift sings, “I don’t know how it gets better than this.”
Well, just wait until next week.
Word came Wednesday of a Senate meeting, which, without question, bears the best title of a Congressional this year. The notice is as follows:
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following full committee hearing:
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Hearing Entitled: “Sharks!”
“Sharks and the scientists who study them have led us innovations in improvements in aerodynamics, renewable energy, electrical sensors, and health and medical research. Innovative shark research can benefit marine ecosystems and continue to raise public awareness about these important species,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D. “That said, we don’t see many in South Dakota.”
As rare as a Taylor Swift sighting at the Capitol.
Committee aides even suggested they’d move the shark hearing to a larger space at the Capitol if they determined they needed “a bigger boat.”
By late Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., had an ultimatum for Lisa Page (remember her?): Either swing by on Thursday or Friday, or face a contempt of Congress citation.
It’s unclear if Page will indeed comply with the subpoena and appear. And until Page does come to Capitol Hill, she and Taylor Swift will have at least one thing in common.