FBI doubles personnel to respond to Goodlatte requests

FBI doubles personnel to respond to Goodlatte requests
© Greg Nash

FBI Director Christopher Wray is doubling the number of FBI personnel tasked with responding to records requests from House Judiciary 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.), he said in a statement Tuesday night.

Up until Tuesday, 27 dedicated staffers were working to process Goodlatte's request. The committee has received about 3,000 documents so far.

Wray said while there is a very large number of documents to provide, "I agree that the current pace of production is too slow."

ADVERTISEMENT

Goodlatte — who along with House Oversight and Government Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE (R-S.C.) is investigating alleged bias at the Justice Department — last week issued a subpoena to obtain documents related to how the FBI handled its probe into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats ask judge for quick ruling on McGahn subpoena Hillary Clinton: 'Every day Stephen Miller remains in the White House is an emergency' The Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race MORE’s email server and potential surveillance abuses.

Conservatives on the two committees have become increasingly frustrated with what they say is the slow pace with which the Justice Department has turned over documents, leading to slow-going in the probe.

Specifically, lawmakers want to see a tranche of over a million documents examined by Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is conducting a parallel probe into decisionmaking during the 2016 election.

"Quite candidly, if you're a FOIA applicant, you have a better chance of getting information," Gowdy told The Hill in an interview last week.

Democrats have called the Goodlatte-Gowdy probe a partisan distraction aimed at muddying the waters around special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE's campaign and Russia.

ADVERTISEMENT

DOJ spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement last week that officials are carefully combing through the documents page-by-page to protect certain sensitive information. The committee has been receiving documents on a rolling basis every 10 to 14 days, he said.

He also pushed back on the breadth of the document request, saying the DOJ believes there are 30,000 documents relevant to the committee's inquiry and describing the 1.2 million document request as "substantial."

Fifty-four FBI staff members, working in two shifts from 8 a.m. to midnight, will now work to "expedite" the project, according to Wray.

-- Olivia Beavers contributed.