Grassley meets Rosenstein amid tensions over probes

Grassley meets Rosenstein amid tensions over probes
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Thanks to the farm lobby, the US is stuck with a broken ethanol policy 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 ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father 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 SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week 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 FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (D-Calif.) also sent a letter to CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTillerson: State Dept. 'not missing a beat' despite vacancies Trump considering spy network to combat 'deep state' enemies: Intercept Five things senators should ask Tom Cotton if he’s nominated to lead the CIA 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.