House conservatives introduce resolution calling on DOJ to provide key documents on 2016

House conservatives introduce resolution calling on DOJ to provide key documents on 2016
© Greg Nash

Two staunch House conservatives introduced a resolution on Wednesday calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to turn over key documents related to congressional investigations examining the FBI's decisionmaking during the 2016 presidential election.

Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Trump vows to stand with House GOP '1,000 percent' on immigration North Carolina governor recalls National Guard troops from border over family separation MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRepublicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe Republican wants to know why Rosenstein delayed release of FBI agent texts Live coverage: Justice IG testifies before House on report criticizing FBI MORE (R-Ohio), leaders of the House Freedom Caucus and two of President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE's top allies in the House, rolled out the legislative measure seeking to compel the DOJ to comply with outstanding congressional subpoenas.

The resolution, the latest escalation of tensions between the Justice Department and GOP lawmakers, calls on the DOJ to provide "full access" to unredacted documents to lawmakers and designated staff members.

“We are going to continue our fight to make sure we get the relevant documents from the Department of Justice," Meadows told The Hill shortly after introducing the resolution on the House floor. "Obviously, today’s resolution are just another example of our tenacious spirit and our unyielding resolve to get the documents to do proper oversight.”

The resolution gives a seven-day deadline for the DOJ to turn over the information after it is enacted.

Jordan and Meadows, who have been particularly critical of the DOJ and FBI, listed a series of incidents that they argue show evidence the DOJ is not cooperating with Congress.

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According to the resolution, one recent DOJ offense includes the agency refusing to turn over key documents related to the start of the special counsel's Russia investigation by the deadline set forth by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

Nunes had reportedly demanded access to documents related to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, including details about about an informant who had contacts with the campaign.

Nunes was fighting to gain access to these documents by midnight on Tuesday so that his staff and other House Intelligence members could review them. This came despite reports that Nunes is expected to view the underlying documents on Thursday with other leaders in the House and Senate.

Another example the resolution cites centers on a recent Fox News report that claims Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRepublicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe US law is not on the side of Mueller's appointment as special counsel Republican wants to know why Rosenstein delayed release of FBI agent texts MORE threatened to subpoena emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers and staff on the House Intelligence Committee — an accusation Rosenstein has reportedly denied.

"Whereas the DOJ did not comply with Chairman Nunes’s June 12, 2018 deadline; Whereas in January 2018, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appears to have threatened to subpoena the calls and emails of Intelligence Committee staff in retaliation for requesting documents and investigating the DOJ," the resolutions reads. 

The DOJ dismissed this accusation, saying Rosenstein "never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation," CNN reported Tuesday.

"The FBI Director, the senior career ethics adviser for the Department, and the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs who were all present at this meeting are all quite clear that the characterization of events laid out here is false," a Justice Department official told the news outlet.

The back and forth is the latest episode in a dragged out and heated feud between GOP lawmakers and the DOJ.

For months, conservatives have pressed for access to classified documents that detail decisions related to the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLewandowski says 'womp womp' at story of young girl being separated from mother at border Giuliani: FBI asked me about tease of a 'surprise' before election Republicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe MORE's handling of classified materials while secretary of State as well as the FBI's decision to open an investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The Department of Justice, in turn, has repeatedly pointed to the thousands of documents it has already turned over to the congressional committees.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) have been leading a joint probe into what the two lawmakers say may be evidence of political bias in the highest levels at the Justice Department.

Goodlatte has also pushed for information surrounding conservative allegations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse relating to information used in warrants to monitor a former Trump campaign adviser as part of the Russia probe.

Nunes has been leading a parallel investigation into FBI's decisions on the Russia front.

Trump has repeatedly inserted himself in the matter, accusing the department and the FBI of “slow walking” its turn-over of documents to the committee.

--Updated at 5:12 p.m.