Justice Department hands over Russia probe documents after impeachment threat
The Justice Department has handed over all of the documents requested by the House intelligence committee after a congressman threatened to impeach FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosensteinover the delay.
A Justice Department official said the documents, which were related to the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, were turned over Wednesday.
That was just before the deadline set by Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and the intelligence panel chairman, had threatened to impeach Mr. Wray and Mr. Rosenstein for failing to comply with a subpoena for the documents from last August.
The intelligence committee had sought to obtain a two-page document based on reports that Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that Russia had compromising information on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
A subpoena was issued for an unredacted version of the document after ongoing requests since last summer were ignored.
In conjunction wth the requested documents, the Justice Department also turned over 1,000 pages of classified material, much of which will be provided to all of the Intelligence Committee’s members.
The House Judiciary Committee is still awaiting nearly 1.2 million documents from the Justice Department. Those records relate to the FBI’s decision not to charge Mrs. Clinton over her use of a private email server and to the surveillance application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Last month Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and the Judiciary chairman, issued a subpoena over the documents.
The documents turned over to Mr. Nunes’ panel Wednesday included redactions to protect the name of a foreign country and the name of a foreign agent, the Justice Department official said.
The official added that these redactions were necessary to protect national security, but only appear a limited number of times and do not blur the documents’ meaning.
Mr. Nunes issued the Wednesday deadline in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.
“It will get really complicated after that,” he said.
When asked whether he would impeach Mr. Rosenstein, the congressman replied, “We are not messing around here.”
In statement late Wednesday, Mr. Nunes confirmed that he and Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, viewed the documents.
“During the meeting, we were finally given access to a version of the Electronic Communication that contained the information necessary to advance the Committee’s ongoing investigation of the Department of Justice and FBI,” he said. “Although the subpoenas issued by this Committee in August 2017 remain in effect, I’d like to thank Deputy
Attorney General Rosenstein for his cooperation today.”