Grassley meets Rosenstein amid tensions over probes

Grassley meets Rosenstein amid tensions over probes
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Tech: Facebook faces crisis over Cambridge Analytica data | Lawmakers demand answers | What to watch for next | Day one of AT&T's merger trial | Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica attracts scrutiny | House passes cyber response team bill | What to know about Russian cyberattacks on energy grid Overnight Finance: Congress races to finish .2T funding bill | What to look for in omnibus | AT&T merger trial kicks off | Stocks fall on tech troubles | Trump targets Venezuelan cryptocurrency | Record SEC whistleblower payout MORE (R-Iowa) met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday as the Judiciary Committee seeks testimony and documents in its probe into former FBI Director James Comey’s firing and Russia’s election interference. 

Grassley told reporters after the nearly hourlong sit-down that the meeting was about “oversight communications and getting updates and stuff like that.” 

As he left Grassley’s office, Rosenstein separately declined to respond to questions about whether the talks included a discussion about the committee's push to speak with two FBI officials about Comey's firing. 

Grassley has been increasingly frustrated with the Justice Department and intelligence community for withholding information and potential witnesses from the Judiciary Committee’s investigation.

The senator sent Rosenstein a letter on Wednesday about the committee's request to meet with two senior FBI employees, Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki. 

In the letter, Grassley wrote that the panel wanted to question the two officials on a range of issues including the FBI's investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump adds to legal team after attacks on Mueller Press: You can’t believe a word he says Feehery: March Madness MORE's private email server, FBI activities tied to President Trump or the Trump campaign, the FBI’s investigation into Russia's election interference and Comey's firing. 

With Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAttorneys for Trump, Mueller hold face-to-face meeting to discuss potential interview topics: report Holder: Sessions needs to 'have the guts' to say no to Trump Trump adds to legal team after attacks on Mueller MORE recused from the Russia investigation, which also includes potential contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow,  Rosenstein is the top DOJ official with oversight of the FBI’s Russia probe. 

Grassley and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCoalition presses Transportation Dept. for stricter oversight of driverless cars Saudi energy deal push sparks nuclear weapon concerns Liberals seek ouster of HHS official blocking abortions MORE (D-Calif.) also sent a letter to CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump informally offered Cohn CIA job before changing his mind: report Trump’s Africa policy takes form with focus on security (and China) Mike Pompeo has skills to bring American diplomacy back to life MORE this week asking that he give the Judiciary Committee “the same materials that have been made available to the Senate Intelligence Committee.” 

“Russian interference in the 2016 election — a matter that implicates federal criminal laws, our electoral process, and the administration of justice — is one of those circumstances involving matters squarely within the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction,” Grassley and Feinstein wrote. 

Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, is also a member of the Intelligence Committee. 

It's not the first time the two panels, which are running parallel investigations, have bumped jurisdictional elbows. 

Grassley and Feinstein both warned earlier this year that they were willing to subpoena Comey to appear before their committee after he declined their invitation to testify but appeared before the Intelligence Committee.