WASHINGTON – Slim to none.
Those are the chances the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will comply with the House Intelligence Committee demand for documents related to the anti-Trump dossier, says a source familiar with the investigation into alleged Russian collusion.
Ratcheting up the battle brewing between Congress, the FBI and the DOJ, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes blasted the DOJ in a recent letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for ignoring the committee’s request for information and witnesses subpoenaed on the dossier.
The salacious document produced by former British spy Christopher Steele includes unverified allegations of Russian ties to President Trump.
“Unfortunately, DOJ/FBI’s intransigence with respect to the August 24 subpoenas is part of a broader pattern of behavior that can no longer be tolerated,” the California Republican wrote to Rosenstein.
Nunes had demanded that all records, responsive documents, their field agent investigative notes and contact summaries and available dates for witnesses to testify be provided to the committee by Wednesday.
Despite the committee’s insistence the DOJ cooperate, the source, who spoke to WND on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, explained that members of the committee expected Justice to ignore the deadline.
“The committee would love to be surprised and get everything that we asked for … but based on our history of dealing with the DOJ and the FBI on this issue, and their months-long stonewall, we don’t have very high hopes that they are going to comply,” the source said.
The source confirmed that there could be consequences for a failure to comply and that it must be presumed there is only one reason for the defiance.
“If they continue to refuse to comply then we are going to have to take further steps,” he said. “The committee members will have to discuss what those are going to be.
“They have some kind of information that they don’t want us to see. It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility that there’s something there that would reflect badly or embarrass certain officials of the DOJ or the FBI that they don’t want us to have. That’s possible. We don’t know because we don’t have the information,” the source said.
“We’d like to get this stuff so that we can simply evaluate it at face value. These are simple documents that we know that they have – specific witnesses that we are asking to be arranged to be interviewed. What this information is that they apparently don’t want us to possess? We don’t know,” the source said.
As predicted, the FBI did not comply with the committee’s request for additional documents. Instead, FBI director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made a surprise visit to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office late Wednesday afternoon.
A Ryan spokeswoman declined to discuss the purpose for the meeting other than that it came at the request of Wray and Rosenstein, the Washington Examiner reported.
Nunes has directed his staff to prepare a contempt of Congress resolution for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray unless the committee’s demands for records are met.
But Democrats are in full battle dress on the issue.
Fearful that Nunes will sabotage the Russia probe, which after more than a year has produced no evidence of any Trump campaign collusion with Russia, Democrats are demanding Nunes be put in prison for investigating whether federal law enforcement conspired to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.
“Putting Nunes behind bars – that’s one of their favorite topics. You have a certain degree of wishful thinking behind all that. It’s funny, when you just stop and think about it, what we are trying to do is get an explanation from the intelligence agencies about how they used the Steele dossier – that’s all we are trying to do,” the source said. “As the congressional committee with oversight responsibility for the intelligence community, that’s the exact kind of thing that we are supposed to be doing – that’s why this committee exists – but just simply for doing that, they’re saying he belongs in prison. It’s just quite a thing.”
In addition to the Steele dossier, a key piece of forensic evidence in Russia’s suspected efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election is the allegedly hacked computer server that handled email from the Democratic National Committee.
Some elements of the intel community have found that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the hacking of the DNC and the dissemination of emails from key staffers via WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
Not a single government agency has even viewed the hacked computer servers to conduct a forensic data-breach investigation.
When the FBI asked the DNC to turn over the server, the DNC destroyed the allegedly breached server and hired the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike to make a “replica” of all the information on its server and computers, turning over a major law-enforcement investigation to the private sector, according to former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are investigating the mystery surrounding the DNC server, but Democrats are intent on burying the truth about the dossier and the server and are using the Russia investigation as a political tool, the source close to the Russia probe warned.
“We have looked into the server issue and have not yet seen any indications to cast doubt on the notions that the Russians hacked the DNC,” he said. “Of course, the Democrats on the committee seem to have absolutely no interest whatsoever, an amazing lack of curiosity, in discovering whether or not a piece of opposition research, funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC, that’s full of unverified and salacious and false stories, was used by the intelligence agencies and investigations of the opposing team, and whether or not that information was used to justify a FISA warrant on American citizens. Every time we do anything on this, it’s always in the face of bitter, bitter resistance from the Democrats.”
He continued: “It’s something that really stands out for members of what’s supposed to be an oversight committee. Whereas, if you compare the dossier investigation with the collusion story, every single nugget of information – these intelligence committee Democrats are out there in front, screaming and crying that this points to collusion. Every single irrelevant little detail in their minds is more evidence of this grand collusion conspiracy. What’s behind all their accusations, really, is this dossier. None of the collusion allegations of which have been verified.”
The Russia probe is not only a political tool being used to delegitimize the Trump administration, but is an integral part of the Democratic strategy to win the 2018 midterm elections, the source said.
“There is no doubt the immediate goal is to stretch this investigation out until the midterm elections. That is definitely the main thing that they want for right now, for the obvious political reasons. There are a lot of moving parts to this whole thing. We’ve been looking at it for a full year now. And yet the Democrats are accusing us of trying to prematurely shut down the investigation at the behest of Bannon and Trump. It’s in their interest to keep this investigation going absolutely as long as possible and whether it goes one year, three years or five years, at some point it’s got to wind down. But no matter how long it’s gone on, they are going to complain that it’s premature to shut it down. They want it to keep going and going and going until they have something to support the collusion argument that they have been making all year without any actual evidence.”
Nunes’ subpoena comes as numerous intelligence community officials involved in the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during 2016 presidential election have been revealed to have partisan, anti-Trump motives.
FBI agent Peter Strozk, who served as the deputy head of counter-intelligence at the FBI and was tasked with investigating the Hillary Clinton use of a private email server to do work as secretary of state, was personally selected by special counsel Robert Mueller to be the top FBI agent in charge of the Russia probe.
Strzok was the FBI contact person to receive the Russian dossier and interview the dossier author, Steele.
Hillary Clinton’s team paid Steele, via Fusion GPS, to create the dossier.
Strozk also was the investigator who interviewed Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017, which formed the basis for the Mueller indictment in December.
But an Inspector General investigation revealed internal communications between Strozk and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom Strozk was having an extramarital affair, proving their disdain for Trump and desire to clear Clinton.
Mueller removed Strozk from the team upon learning of the IG investigation exposing his bias.
But Nunes was stonewalled by the Justice Department earlier this year when he requested information on why Mueller removed Strzok.