Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has suggested he will move to hold top Justice Department officials in contempt of Congress by the end of December, after accusing the DOJ of withholding information about the Russia probe from his committee.
His latest threats come after reports that a top FBI agent had been removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe because it was discovered that he had sent texts, that expressed anti-Trump political views.”
“I have instructed House Intelligence Committee staff to begin drawing up a contempt of Congress resolution for DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray,” said California Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chair of the committee, according to Politics Pot.
The Daily Caller reported that Nunes set Monday as the deadline for the DOJ and FBI to comply with the committee’s list of demands. These demands include interviews with Rosenstein, Wray, and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe as well as documents related to the anti-Trump dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
This comes after committee Republicans spent months trying to force the DOJ and FBI to provide details of the Russia investigation, including how much it relied on the uncorroborated dossier to form the basis of its probe. However, the final straw for Nunes was the revelation that FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok was kicked off of Mueller’s team over the summer after it was discovered that he exchanged anti-Trump text messages with his mistress, an FBI lawyer named Lisa Page who also worked on Mueller’s team.
In his statement, Nunes accused the FBI and DOJ of “hiding” information about Strzok’s “documented political bias.”
“In light of today’s press reports, we now know why Strzok was dismissed, why the FBI and DOJ refused to provide us this explanation, and at least one reason why they previously refused to make Deputy [FBI] Director [Andrew] McCabe available to the Committee for an interview,” said Nunes.
“This is part of a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this Committee’s oversight work, particularly oversight of their use of the Steele dossier. At this point, these agencies should be investigating themselves,” Nunes added.
Nunes explained that the DOJ reached out on Saturday expressing “a sudden willingness to comply with some of the Committee’s long-standing demands.”
“This attempted 11th-hour accommodation is neither credible nor believable, and in fact is yet another example of the DOJ’s disingenuousness and obstruction,” said Nunes.
H/T Politics Pot
The reasons for Strzok’s departure from Mueller’s probe, which was first reported in August, were a mystery until this weekend, when the New York Times and the Washington Post both reported the discovery of the texts as part of the DOJ inspector general’s inquiry into the FBI’s handling of 2016-related investigations.
According to the Washington Post, the texts were part of an exchange between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, a McCabe deputy with whom Strzok was allegedly having an affair.