By: Chris White
The Justice Department claimed Saturday it has given House Republicans a trove of documents related to the Russia investigation and the probe against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
DOJ has partially complied subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees on probes related to both probes, according to a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan. Lawmakers threatened to hold officials at the department in contempt of Congress until the documents were delivered.
“Our efforts have resulted in the committees finally getting access to information that was sought months ago, but some important requests remain to be completed,” Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. “Additional time has been requested for the outstanding items and based on our understanding of the process we believe that request is reasonable. We expect the department to meet its full obligations to the two committees.”
While Republicans were clamoring for the memos, Democrats were criticizing the multiple requests, suggesting the documents were designed to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties. The DOJ also notified Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California about a classified letter it sent the committee discussing “confidential human sources” the FBI used before beginning the probes into Russian.
Nunes, who chairs the House Intelligence panel, has been pressing the department on an informant who spoke to members of Trump’s campaign prior to the FBI’s probes. DOJ’s acting assistant director of congressional affairs, Jill Tyson, also said in the letter that Nunes asked for transcripts of discussions between confidential sources and Trump campaign officials. She said that request has been deferred to Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats.
President Donald Trump has accused the FBI of spying on his campaign, but intelligence officials say they were simply trying to find out the scope of Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election. Rep. Trey Gowdy of North Carolina, meanwhile, has affirmed the FBI’s side of the story in previous media reports, telling reporters: “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.”
Tyson’s letter also said Nunes received materials related to guidelines under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Republicans believe the DOJ abused FISA when prosecutors and agents in 2016 received a secret warrant from the court to monitor the communications of Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
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