GOP chairman threatens subpoena for FBI records on Clinton probe

GOP chairman threatens subpoena for FBI records on Clinton probe
© Greg Nash

The head of the House Judiciary Committee is threatening to soon issue a subpoena against the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking documents into how the FBI handled it's probe into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic debates are magnet for lobbyists NYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders MORE's use of a private email server as secretary of State.

Rep. 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.) said the order would be issued soon because Republicans have only received a "tiny percentage" of documents that they’ve repeatedly requested, roughly 3,000 out of 1.2 million documents on a voluntary rolling basis since launching the probe in late October. 

Goodlatte is running a joint investigation into the matter with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGreen says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely Trump golfs with Graham ahead of impeachment trial Trey Gowdy returns to Fox News as contributor MORE (R-S.C.). The lagging pace of document turnover has fueled frustrations among the GOP lawmakers who now say they are willing to subpoena for the documents if their record demand is not quickly fulfilled.

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

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We've had communications with the Department of Justice about this and they know that not just myself and Chairman Gowdy, but many other members of the House are very concerned about the slow nature of those documents being produced. And as I say, actions are going to have to take a new level here very soon,” he said.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has separately been examining the FBI and DOJ’s actions as they relate to the Clinton probe.

GOP lawmakers are eager to learn more about what Horowitz uncovered regarding the private text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who disparaged then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE and other political figures during the 2016 election.

The messages have become a flash point for Republicans who say the Strzok-Page exchange is proof of anti-Trump bias operating within high government levels.

Strzok’s involvement with the Clinton investigation, including his reported role in drafting the Clinton exoneration letter, has further escalated the scrutiny against him.

Both FBI officials also served on 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 team that is investigating Russian interference in the election, a connection that has fueled the GOP attacks against the investigative team.

They argue that the team investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin is filled with Democrats and Clinton cronies, despite Mueller’s well-known reputation as a Republican.

The two officials were promptly removed from Mueller’s team after the internal investigation uncovered their text messages.

The Republican lawmakers in recent months have homed in on whether there was any “extraneous influence” on the surveillance process of Trump campaign aides.

Earlier this month, Goodlatte and Gowdy called for a second special counsel to investigate the bureau’s handling of the Clinton probe. 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 has publicly pushed back on those demands.

Another key player who has been caught in the eye of the firestorm is former FBI Deputy Director 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.

Horowitz reportedly found that McCabe was not forthcoming about his contacts with the media, including inappropriate disclosures to the press. The findings of the independent investigation prompted Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report Bottom Line DOJ inquiry tied to Clinton, touted by Trump winds down with no tangible results: report MORE to fire McCabe on Friday night, just two days before his scheduled retirement.

McCabe, who has maintained he did nothing wrong, has long been a GOP target — partly because of his wife’s ties to Clinton allies as well as his relationship with former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyNYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info Bernie-Hillary echoes seen in Biden-Sanders primary fight Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' MORE. After he was fired, Trump on Twitter called his ouster a “great day for the hardworking men and women of the FBI.”

McCabe in a statement argued that the attempts to discredit him are part of a greater effort to “taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally.”

He claimed he is being “singled out” because of his ties to Comey, who was leading the FBI investigation into Moscow’s meddling before Trump fired him last May.

Comey last year claimed during a congressional hearing that the president asked him to take a loyalty pledge as well as bring his Russia probe to an end. McCabe is seen as a key witness who can offer insight into Comey’s interactions with Trump and potentially corroborate them.

The spotlight is likely to shift to Comey next month as he releases a memoir that is expected to get into his exchanges with Trump, among other topics.

- Updated at 2:12 p.m.