House Republicans Prepare Contempt Action Against FBI, DOJ
U.S. House Republicans are drafting a disregard of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming stonewalling in producing information related to the Russia-Trump examinations and other matters.
Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and other committee Republicans, after considering such action for several weeks, decided to move after media including the New York Times reported Saturday on why a top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia-Trump election collusion had been removed from the investigation.
Republicans, as the president, pointed to the reports as evidence that the part probe into Russian meddling has been politically motivated.
” Now everything there is starts to make sense ,” Trump said on Twitter Sunday.
In his statement Saturday, Nunes pointed to the reports that government officials, Peter Strzok, was removed after allegedly having exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text themes with his mistress, who was an FBI lawyer working for Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Another Trump tweet referred to the operator as” tainted( no, unusually disreputable ?).” The president added that the FBI’s honour” is in Tatters – bad in History !” In a busy morning of notes to his 44 million partisans, Trump earlier “re just saying that”” I never questioned” former FBI Director James Comey” to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Phony News crossing another Comey lie !”
Until now, Nunes said, the FBI and Department of Justice have failed to sufficiently comply with an Aug. 24 committee subpoena — including by refusing repeated expects” for an explanation of Peter Strzok’s dismissal from the Mueller examination .”
” In lighting of today’s press reports, we now know why Strzok was rejected, why the FBI and DOJ refused to provide us this explanation, and at least one reason why they previously refused to manufacture Deputy Director McCabe available to the Committee for an interrogation ,” Nunes said.
” By hiding from Congress, and from the American people, documented political bias by a key FBI head investigator for both the Russia collusion probe and the Clinton email investigation, the FBI and DOJ engaged in a purposeful is making an effort to outwit Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility ,” he said.
Nunes, in the statement, said the committee will move on relevant resolutions by the end of the month unless it requires are “fully met” by the open of business Dec. 4.
He cited” a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and preventing this Committee’s oversight direct ,” including also denying subpoenaed information about their employment of an resist research dossier that targeted Trump in the 2016 election.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions would not be a target of any contempt action by the committee, Nunes has said, because he recused himself from any investigation into charges that Russia intervened in the election.
Justice Department spokeswoman Sara Isgur Flores said in an email that” we disagree with the chairman’s characterization and will continue to work with congressional committees to provide the information they are asking for consistent with “the member states national” security responsibilities .”
Documents and Briefings
The department has already each member of House leadership and the Intelligence Committee with” several hundred pages of classified certificates” and numerous instructions — including whether any FBI fees were established related to the dossier — and has cleared eyewitness including McCabe and Strzok to testify, she said.
The House committee’s crown Democrat, Representative Adam Schiff of California, responded in a statement that the Department of Justice inspector general is” suitably probing the handled in police investigations, including the current accusation of bias” by Strzok.
” I am concerned, nonetheless, that our chairperson is willing to use the subpoena and contempt dominance of the House , not to determine how the Russians intervening in our poll or whether the president inhibited Justice, but exclusively to amuse from the heart of our investigation ,” Schiff said.
The dossier, which included salacious allegations about Trump, was paid for in part by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton through a regulation firm. Nunes and other committee Republican — backed by Speaker Paul Ryan — say they want to investigate whether the Justice Department and FBI may have improperly are dependent upon the dossier to kick-start federal surveillance that caught up Trump accompanies, without separately strengthening the information they used to justify such spying.
” The DOJ has now showed — on a Saturday, merely hours after the press reports on Strzok’s dismissal showed — sudden willingness to comply with some of the Committee’s long-standing necessitates ,” Nunes said.” This attempted 11 th-hour accommodation is neither believable nor plausible, and in fact is yet another example of the DOJ’s disingenuousness and hazard .”
Those authorities” should be investigating themselves ,” he said.
If Nunes and Republican do follow through with the contempt activity, it would be a recent blow against bipartisanship on a committee that had until very recently been one of the last bastions of comity in a polarized House. Democrats deplore Republicans are increasingly altering scrutiny and limited resources in the Russian investigation away from a primary focus of ballot interference and possible Trump campaign collusion.
The committee’s infighting has stepped up since October, coinciding with Democratic accusations that Nunes has returned to a most active capability for Republicans in the committee’s Russia investigation.
Nunes said April 6 he was stepping back amid disapproval of his handling of classified substance, supposedly obtained from White House officers, that he said showed officials of former President Barack Obama’s administration “unmasked” the the identity cards of parties close to Trump who were mentioned in law surveillance of foreign individuals.
Representative Michael Conaway of Texas officially has taken over the Republican controls from Nunes on police investigations. But Nunes’s statement Saturday is another signal he’s returned to a leading role.