The FBI and the Department of Justice usually are the ones who decide who gets a subpoena demanding evidence for an investigation.
Not this time.
This time, they are receiving subpoenas demanding that they turn over information.
It all involves that apparently fictitious Russian “dossier” that made outlandish claims about Donald Trump, and was used to smear him during the presidential campaign. The case is under investigation by the House Intelligence Committee, which recently subpoenaed both the FBI and the Department of Justice for information.
Byron York at the Washington Examiner reported that the committee gave both agencies until Sept. 14 to comply. So far, they have not done so.
Commented John Hinderaker at Powerlineblog: “There is some reason to believe that the FBI was enlisted to support the Hillary Clinton campaign by promoting, and perhaps paying for, the fake Russian dossier. If that is true, it is a major scandal. The FBI and DOJ are still not cooperating in the committee’s investigation.”
The FBI, of course, through then-Chief James Comey, was the group that “cleared” Clinton of possible charges for her “extremely careless” handling of national security secrets that were sent over her private, unsecured email system she set up in her home when she was secretary of state.
Also, the DOJ, through then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac at an Arizona airport, for a private meeting, just as those charges were being considered by the FBI.
The issue before the committee is the salacious and unverified dossier that alleges Russia corroborated with President Trump to rig the presidential election.
The committee is also intent on revealing details pertaining to the FBI’s relationship with the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, and the bureau’s possible support of opposition research against Trump during the presidential race.
Committee investigators began requesting information from the FBI and Justice Department in May, sending multiple letters to the bureau and DOJ regarding the Trump-Russia affair.
It was Comey who, when he was fired by Trump, took government documents he had assembled as FBI chief in meetings with Trump. He gave them to a friend to release to the media in his hope that that would trigger the appointment of a special counsel to look into the Russia claims.
The left-leaning website BuzzFeed published the collection of reports online on Jan. 10, just 10 days before Trump’s inauguration.
One of the reports even alleged Trump engaged in “perverted sexual acts” that were “arranged/monitored” by the Russian intelligence, including hiring prostitutes to urinate on the bed that former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had slept on at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton, out of supposed hatred for them. The report claimed a video existed of the alleged incident, but no proof has surfaced to date.
Trump has dismissed the claims as “fake news.”
But neither the FBI nor the DOJ was willing to comply with demands for information, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who is taking a leading role in the Russia investigation, told the Washington Examiner.
“We got nothing,” Gowdy said. “The witnesses have not been produced and the documents have not been produced.”
Finally, on Aug. 25, the committee issued subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department, mandating they turn over the information by Sept. 1.
The FBI and DOJ both continue to withhold the requested documents. The committee, subsequently, extended the deadline to Sept. 14.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions a letter on Sept. 1 threatening contempt of Congress if the documents aren’t produced.
“If all responsive documents are not produced by the revised deadline, the attorney general and director of the FBI (Christopher Wray) shall appear before the committee at 9 a.m. on September 14, 2017, in room HVC-210 of the U.S. Capitol during an open hearing, to explain under oath DOJ’s and FBI’s unwillingness or inability to comply in full with the subpoenas issued on August 24,” Nunes wrote.
The committee also issued subpoenas to Wray and Sessions demanding an explanation for why they have not turned over the subpoenaed information.
The FBI reportedly told Gowdy it needed more time to comply and claimed providing the documents would potentially interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, explained that he is intent on getting to the bottom of the FBI’s involvement in the creation of the document and whether the FBI or DOJ ever presented information from the dossier to a court to obtain a surveillance warrant in the Russia investigation.
“I want to know the extent to which it was relied upon, if at all, by any of our intelligence agencies or federal law enforcement agencies,” Gowdy said. “And, to the extent it was relied upon, how did they vet, or either corroborate or contradict, the information in it?”
Uncovering details about the dossier is key to substantiating or disproving claims by his political opponents that Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 campaign, Gowdy said.
“Several of our lines of questions centered on the dossier, or, if you don’t like the word ‘dossier,’ just insert ‘the origin of the Russia investigation,'” said Gowdy.
Gowdy said he is stunned that the Republican-controlled Justice Department is not readily complying with the Republican-controlled House.
“I’m sure you’re noting with the same irony I’m noting the difficulty that a Republican Congress is having getting information from a Department of Justice run by Jeff Sessions,” he said.
But Gowdy said the truth will come out.
“Congress created the FBI, we created the Department of Justice, we’re the ones who passed the laws that set the boundaries of their jurisdiction, and we’re the ones that fund them,” Gowdy said. “It is not illegitimate for us to ask what prompted this investigation, and it is certainly not illegitimate for us to test and probe the reliability of that underlying information, particularly if, in theory, there are either charging decisions and/or court filings that relied upon that information.”
Members of the House Intelligence Committee, including Gowdy, Nunes, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Rep. Adam Schiff, R-Calif., did not return WND requests for comment Wednesday.