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 GoodlatteFight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing The job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line MORE (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy 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 TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased 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 NunesNews organizations, journalists ask court to review decision on Nunes lawsuit Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies LIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means begins Day 2 on .5T package MORE (R-Calif.) threatened to initiate contempt or impeachment proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week 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.