In an interview with Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes indicated that Republicans have just about had it with the Justice Department’s refusal to obey congressional demands for documentation and information. Nunes said that he was giving senior DOJ officials until the end of the week to comply with a request for documents related to the Russia investigation. If they fail to come through, he said, the House would have to look at taking corrective measures.
“We can’t force the resignation,” he said, “but we can hold in contempt, we can pass resolutions, we can impeach. I think we’re getting close to there.”
A real showdown between Nunes and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been months in the making. Conservatives in the House have been increasingly frustrated with Rosenstein’s lack of cooperation with congressional oversight committees charged with getting to the bottom of the FBI’s use of an informant in relation to the Trump campaign. And after dragging his heels when it came to providing clear information about the FISA abuse used to secure a warrant against Carter Page, Rosenstein is walking on the thinnest of ice with Nunes and other House Republicans.
The informant at the center of the latest requests is said to be former University of Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, who was tasked by the FBI to make inroads with Page, George Papadopoulos, and others in the spring of 2016. The revelation that the FBI sent a spy into the campaign set off a firestorm of controversy last month; President Trump has slammed the entire scandal as “Spygate.” The media, ever desperate to cover up for the crimes of the Obama administration, insists there is a hugely-meaningful difference between the FBI using an “informant” and the FBI using a “spy.” We’re not convinced.
“If documents do not begin to be turned over tomorrow, and a clear way and path forward for everything else is not clear, there’s going to be hell to pay by Wednesday morning,” Nunes promised. “I can tell you it’s not going to be pretty.”
It’s about time that congressional investigators got serious about clamping down on the out-of-control Justice Department. Rosenstein has been in CYA mode since he took the job, and Sessions, being recused, is less than useless. The Inspector General’s report last week showed us exactly how much bias and incompetence tainted the Hillary Clinton email investigation; many of those same people were (and are) involved in the Trump/Russia probe. Rosenstein and his friends can obfuscate, lie, and cheat democracy all day long – it doesn’t mean Congress has to stand by and idly watch them do it.