GOP chairmen say they have deal with Justice on documents

GOP chairmen say they have deal with Justice on documents
© Greg Nash

Two GOP House chairmen on Monday announced they have struck a deal with the Department of Justice (DOJ) about producing documents for their joint investigation into FBI decisionmaking during the 2016 presidential election.

The agreement comes after conservative lawmakers became increasingly frustrated with the DOJ in recent months, accusing the agency of dragging its feet in giving Congress a tranche of documents it requested. 

House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyCummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump Our sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower MORE (R-S.C.) offered no details about the agreement they said they had reached with Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd and U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who was appointed earlier this month to oversee Congress's requests for documents.

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But the two lawmakers expressed satisfaction that they would get what they needed from Justice. 

"The Committees have reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to access the documents we have been requesting for months," the two lawmakers said in a joint statement.

"We look forward to reviewing the information to better understand the decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016 and 2017."

The House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees are jointly investigating alleged bias at the Justice Department, including over how the FBI handled its probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server and potential surveillance abuses.

The announcement comes after Goodlatte issued a subpoena last month to obtain documents. The move came after conservatives on his panel complained that they had only received about 3,000 out of the roughly 1.2 million documents they were seeking despite repeated requests.

Lawmakers are eager to review over a million documents examined by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is conducting a parallel probe into decisionmaking during the 2016 election.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE has also raised pressure on Justice.

“What does the Department of Justice and FBI have to hide? Why aren’t they giving the strongly requested documents (unredacted) to the HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE?” Trump wrote on Twitter earlier this month. “Stalling, but for what reason? Not looking good!”

Other committees have also gone head-to-head with the DOJ over providing access to documents in recent weeks.

Matters escalated last week when House Intelligence Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesDemocrats' opposition research got exposed — this time, not by the Russians GOP consultant sued by Nunes asks for help paying legal costs Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (R-Calif.) threatened to initiate contempt or impeachment proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates House Judiciary to vote to authorize subpoenas for Trump officials, immigration documents MORE if they did not provide access to a surveillance document that launched the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Rosenstein eventually granted them access to view the document.

Democrats have described the GOP probes into Justice as a sideshow meant to distract or even undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.