House Judiciary chair to subpoena for FBI documents

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.) is expected to subpoena the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to obtain documents related to how the FBI handled its probe into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHill.TV's Krystal Ball: Failure to embrace Sanders as nominee would 'destroy' Democratic Party Clinton says she feels the 'urge' to defeat Trump in 2020 Can Democrats flip the Texas House? Today's result will provide a clue MORE’s email server, three committee sources familiar with the timeline told The Hill.

Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Green says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely Trump golfs with Graham ahead of impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.) have been leading a joint investigation to examine what the two lawmakers say may be evidence of political bias reaching the highest levels at the DOJ.

The subpoena gives a two-week deadline for the department to turn over the documents, according to two of the sources. The committee has so far received around 3,000 documents out of the roughly 1.2 million that lawmakers say they have requested.

The summons would come shortly before House lawmakers are set to depart Capitol Hill for a two-week Easter recess. If the timeline holds, the deadline will fall shortly before the chamber reconvenes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Once source said Goodlatte has talked to top DOJ officials about his plans to issue the subpoena, but the source declined to comment on the identities of the officials as well as further details of the discussion.

Two DOJ officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Goodlatte told The Hill that his panel would subpoena for FBI documents related to the conduct of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info Bernie-Hillary echoes seen in Biden-Sanders primary fight MORE and his former deputy, Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeMcCabe accuses Trump officials of withholding evidence in lawsuit over firing McCabe: Being accused of treason by Trump 'quite honestly terrifying' Horowitz report is damning for the FBI and unsettling for the rest of us MORE, who oversaw the Clinton probe as well as the early portion of the Trump-Russia investigation.

The House GOP chairman said that statements McCabe has made since Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Trump-aligned group launches ad campaign hitting Doug Jones on impeachment ICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report MORE fired him last week have raised questions about Comey's prior testimony to Congress. In that testimony, Comey denied having ever authorized leaking information to the press about then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE or Hillary Clinton while leading the bureau.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have become increasingly frustrated with what they describe as an unacceptable delay in obtaining the records, saying they want them to prepare before taking on additional interviews with FBI witnesses.

Some conservatives on the committee have directed their frustration at Goodlatte, urging him to pick up the pace with the probe that it launched in late October.

Goodlatte on Sunday first floated the possibility of a subpoena, saying he would issue the order “soon” if the law enforcement agency did not turn over the documents they are seeking.

“We need to have those documents,” Goodlatte told host Maria Bartiromo on Fox News's “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Other members characterize the summons as a last resort to compel the DOJ to cooperate.

“I would hope that we wouldn’t have to compel them to comply, but more and more evidence would suggest that compelling them to deliver documents may be our only recourse,” Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsJohn Kelly: 'I believe John Bolton' The Memo: Bolton furor raises stakes for GOP senators Meadows: Bolton manuscript leaked 'to manipulate' senators over witness vote MORE (R-N.C.), the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told The Hill on Monday.

Gowdy also said the subpoena decision was up to Goodlatte, saying he would support the chairman if he followed through with the move.

“In my judgment, he’s the chairman of the Judiciary. He has primary jurisdiction. I’ll let him take the lead. I mean, I support them 1,000 percent, but they shouldn’t need to hear from both of us,” he told The Hill.

Democrats accuse their Republican colleagues of trying to distract or even undermine special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's federal probe — which is looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow — by shifting attention to the FBI.

“A rumoring between now and tomorrow are some subpoenas to be issued unilaterally by one party of this committee and it is not us,” Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeePatrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' The US should work to counter India's actions against the people of Kashmir Sheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade MORE (D-Texas), a member of the Judiciary panel, said Thursday during a press conference with other Judiciary Democrats. 

“They want to begin a unilateral investigation on issues that deal with individuals no longer in the federal government, but they will not look at the actions of the president of the United States,” she added, seemingly referring to ousted former FBI officials like Comey and McCabe.

Since early last year, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has separately been examining the FBI and DOJ’s actions in the Clinton probe.

According to Sessions, Horowitz found McCabe was not forthcoming about his contacts with the media and made inappropriate disclosures to the press. Those disclosures reportedly related to an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. 

Sessions, citing the inspector general review and a recommendation from an internal FBI office that handles disciplinary matters, fired McCabe last Friday, just two days before the No. 2 FBI official was set to retire.

McCabe has denied any wrongdoing, claiming he is being “singled out” because of his ties to Comey, whom Trump fired last year while he was leading the bureau's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. McCabe has also long been a target of Trump's and other Republicans over his wife’s ties to longtime Clinton allies. 

GOP lawmakers say they are also eager to learn more about what Horowitz has uncovered regarding the private text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, that included disparaging comments about Trump and other political figures during the 2016 race. 

The two FBI officials have come under immense Republican scrutiny for their involvement in two high-profile probes: the Clinton email investigation and the beginnings of Mueller’s Russia probe. Mueller removed Strzok from his team last summer after the DOJ's inspector general began reviewing the text messages.

Earlier this month, Goodlatte and Gowdy called for a second special counsel to investigate the bureau’s handling of the Clinton probe — a call that has been met with resistance from Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts Journalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' MORE.