Family Feud Breaks Out Between Judiciary Committee Chairman and Son

Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in June.

WASHINGTON — The son of the retiring Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee turned heads on Monday when he used Twitter to prove that he is unwilling to bear what are, in his estimation, the sins of his father.

Bobby Goodlatte, the son of Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, announcedSunday that he had donated the maximum amount to Jennifer Lewis, the Democrat running a long-shot campaign to take his father’s open seat in rural Virginia. Then he encouraged others to do the same, adding, “2018 is the year to flip districts — let’s do this!”

Less than 24 hours later, the younger Mr. Goodlatte, a Silicon Valley-based investor and product designer, stepped up his messaging after the news that Peter Strzok, an F.B.I. agent and senior counterintelligence officer who texted criticism of President Trump, had been fired. The words and face of Mr. Strzok were burned into the nation’s conscience during a daylong hearing before the Judiciary Committee last month that, at times, looked like an inquisition.

“I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding,” Mr. Goodlatte tweeted. “That committee hearing was a low point for Congress.”

Those remarks appear to be the first he has issued regarding his father’s politics. The younger Mr. Goodlatte’s Twitter feed is largely composed of musings on cryptocurrency, social media and technology, and the occasional anti-Trump retweet. In criticizing online trolling of Barron Trump, the president’s youngest son, last January, he tweeted, “Children don’t choose their parents’ politics.”

Neither Mr. Goodlatte responded to inquiries seeking comment.

The younger Mr. Goodlatte, in the past decade, has donated to just one candidate, according to federal campaign finance records: Max Rose, a Democrat and an Army veteran running for Congress in New York’s 11th District, which includes Staten Island and southern Brooklyn. But in 2015, he dipped a toe into the political waters and started OpenVote, a nonpartisan voting security effort.

But the news of Mr. Strzok’s firing seemed to open the floodgates.

“Certainly wasn’t an easy decision,” the younger Mr. Goodlatte tweeted in reply to a Twitter user who commented on the mercilessness of the son’s decision to publicly criticize his father.

The elder Mr. Goodlatte played a lead role last month in overseeing hearings that investigated Mr. Strzok’s role in the Russia investigation and his controversial texts. At one point, he threatened Mr. Strzok with a contempt citation after he refused to answer a question about the agency’s open Russia investigation.

“Strzok showed immense restraint given how badgered he was,” the younger Mr. Goodlatte tweeted Monday.

The younger Mr. Goodlatte’s first tweet, which by Monday evening had been retweeted more than 8,000 times, was flooded by replies thanking him for speaking out. By the end of the day, he had also earned a number of invitations to other Twitter users’ Thanksgiving dinners, “just in case.”

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