House Intel panel threatens 'compulsory' action to force DOJ to produce Mueller files

House Intel panel threatens 'compulsory' action to force DOJ to produce Mueller files
© Greg Nash

The House Intelligence Committee is signaling it will soon issue a subpoena to compel the Justice Department to comply with its leaders’ request for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s full report and underlying evidence.

Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGraham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone Roger Stone sentenced to over three years in prison Top intelligence community lawyer leaving position MORE (D-Calif.) and ranking member Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Energy: Trump signs order to divert water to California farmers | EPA proposes new rollback to Obama coal ash rules | Green group ranks Bloomberg, Klobuchar last in climate plans Trump signs order diverting water to California farmers against state wishes California newspaper says it was excluded from event with Nunes, Bernhardt MORE (R-Calif.) sent two letters to the Justice Department and FBI in March and April requesting all materials obtained or produced by Mueller in the course of his investigation. They also asked for Mueller to testify before the committee.

A House Intelligence Committee aide said Tuesday that the Justice Department has not produced documents or started scheduling testimony in response to the requests and noted that the panel would “soon start the compulsory process since the Department has not even begun to comply.” 

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“The Committee has been engaged for weeks in a good faith effort to secure DOJ's cooperation with the Committee's bipartisan request for documents and testimony,” the aide said. “An accommodations process must go both ways, and the Committee will soon start the compulsory process since the Department has not even begun to comply.”

The Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

In a rare bipartisan effort, Schiff and Nunes sent letters to the Justice Department on March 27 – before the release of Mueller’s redacted report — and again on April 25 asking that the committee be briefed by Mueller and receive all materials produced or obtained by the special counsel during the investigation.

In the April 25 letter, Schiff and Nunes wrote that it was “deeply unfortunate” that the Justice Department and FBI had failed to respond to their original request and reiterated the committee’s need for the documents as part of their oversight of the U.S. intelligence community.

“In addition to the complete unredacted report, the Committee’s request includes all classified and unclassified evidence and information obtained or generated by the Special Counsel’s Office that may relate to foreign intelligence or counterintelligence matters,” Schiff and Nunes wrote to Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrProsecutor defends initial DOJ recommendation at Stone sentencing Roger Stone sentenced to over three years in prison Trump decries lack of 'fairness' in Stone trial ahead of sentencing MORE, Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinGraham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“The fact that evidence and information may have been gathered during a criminal investigation, including through grand jury process, in no way diminishes their nature or value as foreign intelligence or counterintelligence information or the Committee’s need for them,” they wrote.

The lawmakers described their request as “unique and distinct” from that of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, who have subpoenaed for Mueller’s full, unredacted report and underlying evidence. The Justice Department has thus far not complied with the subpoena.

On April 25, Schiff and Nunes asked that the Justice Department begin cooperating in “good faith” and threatened to begin a compulsory process on May 3 if the department did not comply with their requests beforehand.

The effort is unusual for two lawmakers who have traded barbs over the panel’s investigations into Russia's interference. As chairman, Schiff has opened a new investigation into the possibility the president is compromised by Russia or another foreign power.

Nunes and Republicans, who abruptly shuttered the panel’s original Russia probe last year, are intent on investigating whether FBI agents acted improperly in the early stages of the counterintelligence investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Olivia Beavers contributed.