If there is one thing that has frustrated congressional investigators to no end, it’s the FBI/DOJ dragging its feet in releasing documents relating to the Russia investigation, Hillary Clinton’s email, alleged FISA abuses, and the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Over one million pages in documents have been subpoenaed by Congress. Patience is wearing thin. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, threatened to hold FBI Director Chris Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in contempt, with the possibility of impeaching them over the slow pace of the document disclosures (via Washington Examiner):
Key Republicans are warning that top officials at the Justice Department could be held in contempt of Congress, and possibly face impeachment, as the agency still has not provided Congress documents demanded by lawmakers.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters Tuesday evening that some lawmakers are “seriously considering” contempt of Congress.
Meadows has repeatedly griped about the Justice Department’s failure to fully comply with a subpoena and hand over 1.2 million documents related to three investigations looking into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server, potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe last month.
The Justice Department has picked a U.S. attorney in Chicago as the official to oversee the production of troves of documents to Republican lawmakers — something President Trump has pressured the agency to do immediately. The move comes less than two weeks after the FBI revealed it was doubling the number of staff handling the request from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
For Nunes, he wants the unredacted two-page brief that set off the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians in July of 2016. That investigation, which is now being headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was green lit by FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who was removed from the investigation in August of last year after texts between him and bureau lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair, were revealed. The texts were explicitly anti-Trump. The two exchanged tens of thousands of texts, where the two mentioned an “insurance policy” against Trump in August of 2016. Many suspect that policy to be the Trump dossier compiled by former MI6 spook Christopher Steele, who was contracted by Fusion GPS. Fusion’s services had been retained by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Trump. This document was allegedly used to secure a FISA warrant against Carter Page, who was Trump’s former foreign policy adviser. The two also said that the bureau might be going too hard on Hillary Clinton; Strzok was also involved in the FBI’s investigation into whether she mishandled classified information through her private, unsecure, and unauthorized email server as secretary of state. Since the revelation of the texts, Strzok has been reassigned to human resources at the FBI. Nunes said last night on Laura Ingraham’s show that impeachment could be pursued, and that he’s done playing games with the DOJ (via The Hill):
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he will seek to “impeach” FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if they decline to hand over the document used to launch the FBI’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“I can tell you that we’re not going to just hold in contempt, we will have a plan to hold in contempt and impeach,” Nunes said on Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle.”
Asked host Laura Ingraham if he was serious about impeaching Wray, Nunes replied: “Absolutely.”
Well, the DOJ cried uncle; they’ve released the document for review (via Politico):
A day after Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, threatened the impeachment of FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department on Wednesday turned over the document that launched the bureau’s Russia investigation in 2016, cooling the latest confrontation between House Republicans and intelligence community leaders.
Nunes, a California Republican, had demanded an unredacted version of the document by Wednesday afternoon, and the Justice Department provided one with a few redactions that it deemed necessary for national security. Nunes praised the cooperation and said the document would aid his committee’s “ongoing investigation” of the department and the FBI.
“I’d like to thank Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein for his cooperation today,” he said.
Nunes had threatened late Tuesday to seek the impeachment of Wray and Rosenstein if they failed to meet his demands, an extraordinary escalation of tensions that underscored eroding relations between the House Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department.