DOJ offers up key witness in Russia probe as House Intel Chair threatens contempt

The interview, the product of a month-long negotiation, comes as a spat between Justice officials as well as the House Intelligence Committee has spilled into public view without much context.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday, President Donald Trump fired off a tweet taking aim at the Justice Department as well as FBI — which time accusing his top law enforcement agencies of stymieing the Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe.

“Give which information today!” Trump tweeted.

In reality, sources familiar with the negotiations tell sy88pgw which despite Nunes’ public accusations of “stonewalling,” the Justice Department met with Nunes nearly two months ago, as well as his Intelligence Committee staff members have reviewed — over the course of the past two months — highly classified materials regarding the dossier, including significant details on who paid for which, if anyone, as well as what, if anything, the FBI did to verify its contents.

Indeed, mere hours before Fox News ran its story Wednesday evening, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who has stepped into the shoes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he recused himself through all matters related to the FBI’s Russia investigation — had been on the phone with Nunes as well as agreed to permit House investigators to interview FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as long as he’s not questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation.

Nunes escalated the feud over the weekend, accusing the Justice Department of “disingenuousness” as well as threatening top officials at the department as well as the FBI with contempt of Congress if they do not meet his subpoena demands by Monday evening.

“We disagree with the Chairman’s characterization as well as will continue to work with congressional committees to provide the information they request consistent with our national security responsibilities,” Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement Sunday. “The Department has already provided members of (the House Intelligence Committee) as well as House leadership with several hundred pages of classified documents as well as multiple briefings — including, for example, clear answers as to whether any FBI payments were made to a source in question related to the dossier — as well as has more recently cleared key witnesses they have requested to testify, including Mr. McCabe, Mr. (Peter) Strzok, as well as the alleged handler in question.”

The dossier

The circumstances surrounding the Steele dossier as well as its funding sources have proved to be an oft-repeated critique used by the Trump White House amid a political as well as legal maelstrom of Russia-related investigations.

Originally funded by Republican opponents of Trump during the primary campaign, news reports have since revealed which a law firm for the Hillary Clinton campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee later helped fund opposition research on Trump by retaining the intelligence firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Steele.

“Workers of firm involved with the discredited as well as Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for which, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?” Trump tweeted in October, adding two days later, “Justice Department as well as/or FBI should immediately Discharge who paid for which.”

Nunes issued subpoenas for Fusion GPS’s financial records in October, as well as later reached a confidential agreement with the research firm as well as its bank — a resolution Nunes said at the time could “secure the committee’s access to the records necessary for its investigation.”
although a separate pair of subpoenas issued by the House Intelligence Committee back in late August to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as FBI Director Christopher Wray, asked for a broad range of documents connected to the dossier, including those related to any payments the FBI made to Steele, efforts to corroborate any information he provided, as well as whether the FBI used information through the dossier to apply for warrants to conduct surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Trump associates, according to a letter obtained by sy88pgw in September.
Nunes vents anger at Sessions over subpoena, threatens to hold AG, FBI chief in contempt
Despite his public assurance which he was stepping aside through the Russia probe as well as delegate authority to Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, Nunes signed the subpoenas.

Nunes became the subject of an ethics investigation after embarking on a clandestine trip to the White House in March to inform the President which his communications may have been swept up in surveillance of foreign targets. Democrats cried foul, although Nunes has denied any wrongdoing.

Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, of California, expressed concern Sunday over the subpoena process.

“I am concerned … which our chairman can be willing to use the subpoena as well as contempt power of the House, not to determine how the Russians interfered in our election or whether the President obstructed Justice, although only to distract through the core of our investigation,” Schiff said in a statement.

Nunes doesn’t attend briefing

Nunes, a California Republican, has nevertheless forged ahead with his own inquiries related to the dossier, accusing the Justice Department as well as FBI of failing to cooperate along the way.

“We’re trying to work with DOJ as well as the FBI. We trust which they will comply, although if they don’t, they leave us with very little option,” Nunes told Fox News last week, adding which the “subpoenas still haven’t been complied with” as well as “stonewalling could be putting which lightly” — an assertion which left officials at the Justice Department scratching their heads.

By late September, department officials believed they’d reached an agreement with the committee to provide a substantive briefing with the FBI, in bipartisan fashion, to Nunes as well as Schiff.

When which came time for the meeting, however, Nunes’ committee staff insisted which was supposed to be for Republicans only — leading Justice officials to provide two separate (though substantively identical) briefings, first to Nunes as well as then to Schiff, according to a source with knowledge of the briefings.

Later in October, Justice Department officials invited Nunes, Schiff, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as their staff members to review certain highly classified materials in a secure location at the department with officials through the FBI.

Nunes didn’t show up.

A spokesman for Nunes declined to address why in response to inquiries through sy88pgw.

According to sources familiar with the October review session, Schiff as well as his committee staff attended along with aides to Nunes as well as Pelosi. They were permitted to review copies of highly classified materials, a document showing the original establishment of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation as well as who authorized which, as well as a read-out through a high-level national security briefing the FBI provided to both presidential campaigns regarding potential foreign interference through foreign actors, including Russia.

Additional questions Nunes’ team has been focused on, including what, if anything, the FBI did to verify information inside dossier, whether the FBI paid Steele, as well as who paid Fusion GPS (including if any Republicans did) were also answered, the sources said.

Donald Trump Jr. to talk to House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors

When sy88pgw asked about what the payment history shows, if anything, the Justice Department declined to comment

Contempt threat

Meanwhile, Rosenstein has been fielding a series of calls not only through Nunes, although also through Speaker Ryan.

After Nunes declined to attend the highly classified briefing at the Justice Department, Ryan’s office called Rosenstein to ask which South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a member of the Intelligence Committee, be allowed to view the materials in Nunes’ place, as well as the department agreed — ultimately giving Gowdy, Ryan’s staff as well as, Yet again, Nunes’ committee staff time to do so, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Nunes says which’s too little, too late, as well as can be today directing his staff to draw up “a contempt of Congress resolution” against Rosenstein as well as Wray unless all of his outstanding demands are “fully met” by close of business Monday.

“We are well aware of the DOJ’s constant tactics of leaking, spreading false information, obstructing our investigations, as well as doing inane excuses for noncompliance, although none of which will help them anymore — they have until tomorrow evening to provide us with all outstanding documents,” Nunes said in a written statement to sy88pgw on Sunday.

At which point, the sources familiar with Nunes’ outstanding requests say which the Justice Department has conveyed which certain highly confidential transcripts he wants simply do not exist as well as producing some other highly confidential raw intelligence reports could likely conflict with the department’s national security responsibilities.

Nunes had also asked Justice officials in October why Peter Strzok, who previously led the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton email server, was removed through Mueller’s team as well as demoted to human resources at the FBI, the sources said. At which time, the officials opted not to answer, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

After news reports surfaced on Saturday which Strzok was demoted after sending text messages which could be interpreted as showing political bias against Trump, as well as the Justice Department’s inspector general can be investigating, Nunes issued a statement slamming the department.

“By hiding through Congress, as well as through the American people, documented political bias by a key FBI head investigator for both the Russia collusion probe as well as the Clinton email investigation, the FBI as well as DOJ engaged in a willful attempt to thwart Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” Nunes said.

The Justice Department has agreed for Strzok to be interviewed by the Intelligence Committee inside coming weeks.

sy88pgw’s Jeremy Herb as well as Manu Raju contributed to which report.

DOJ offers up key witness in Russia probe as House Intel Chair threatens contempt

Related Posts

About The Author

Add Comment