Schiff says DOJ hasn't complied with subpoena for Mueller report

Schiff says DOJ hasn't complied with subpoena for Mueller report
© Stefani Reynolds

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Trump rails against FBI, impeachment during Pennsylvania rally Democrats reach cusp of impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) hasmissed a deadline to comply with a subpoena for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s full report and counterintelligence files related to the investigation.

Schiff told reporters that the committee has “reluctantly scheduled” a business meeting next week to take an "enforcement action" to compel the Justice Department to turn over the files –– but he offered no details on what that action would be.

He said the committee maintains “some small but vanishing hope" that the department will comply with its oversight requests, though he expressed fear that President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE has given “a top down instruction” for his administration to “stonewall every congressional request, no matter how reasonable.”

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“We gave them a reasonable period of time to produce them and ask them to do so as a demonstration of good faith, and an initial part of what would be a rolling production of documents. The long and the short of it is, the deadline came and went without the production of a single document, raising profound questions about whether the department has any intention to honor its legal obligations,” Schiff said.

“So we are reluctantly scheduling a committee business meeting for next week, where we plan to take up an enforcement action,” Schiff said.

The Democratic chairman issued a subpoena for Mueller’s unredacted report, underlying evidence, and the counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials generated in the course of the Russia investigation last week. Schiff set a 3 p.m. deadline Wednesday for the Justice Department to comply.

A spokesman for the Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment on Schiff’s remarks.

The chairman said the committee will defer to the House counsel to decide what their best course of action is to enforce the subpoena, a matter being examined across multiple House committees grappling with how to compel the White House to cooperate with Democrats’ multiple oversight investigations.

“We will continue to urge the Department to render that unnecessary but if they don't demonstrate some good faith, we will be forced to compel them to honor their legal commitments,” Schiff said.

Schiff noted that despite asking for a “narrow” set of documents, the Justice Department’s response to their request was “largely unresponsive,” though the chairman declined to share their back-and-forth communication.

The House Judiciary Committee has similarly subpoenaed for Mueller’s full, unredacted report and underlying evidence. The Justice Department has resisted the panel’s requests, saying that turning over Mueller’s full report -- including grand jury material -- would amount to violating the law and compromising ongoing investigations.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrHillicon Valley: Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling | Tech legal shield makes it into trade deal | Impeachment controversy over phone records heats up | TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings Giuliani: Trump asked me to brief Justice Department, GOP lawmakers on Ukraine trip Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling MORE has allowed a select group of lawmakers to review a less-redacted version of the report in a secure room, provided they keep its contents confidential, but Democrats have rejected the offer as too limited.

The Judiciary panel voted to hold Barr in contempt last week for failing to comply with the subpoena. The resolution has not yet reached the floor for a vote by the full House.

Schiff has noted that his panel’s request for the files is distinct from that of the Judiciary Committee, arguing his committee is entitled to the foreign and counterintelligence information as a result of its oversight of the intelligence community.

Schiff, who issued the subpoena last Wednesday, accused the Justice Department of failing to negotiate with the committee or comply with its bipartisan requests for Mueller’s report and other files over the past several weeks.

Schiff and Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHillicon Valley: Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling | Tech legal shield makes it into trade deal | Impeachment controversy over phone records heats up | TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today Controversy on phone records intensifies amid impeachment MORE (R-Calif.), the committee’s top Republican, sent letters to the Justice Department in March and April asking for documents and testimony related to Mueller’s investigation. 

Nunes did not sign the notice of the subpoena Schiff sent to the Justice Department last week.

Schiff’s committee is not only seeking access to Mueller’s full unredacted report and underlying evidence, but he is also demanding materials obtained or created by Mueller’s office that refer or relate to foreign individuals or entities; persons or entities associated with or acting as a foreign agent, representative or proxy; communications or links between Americans and foreign individuals or entities; and “any effort to influence, impede, or obstruct congressional investigations.”

A spokesman for Nunes did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Schiff’s move to seek enforcement of the subpoena.