WASHINGTON – The Justice Department finally has decided to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee, agreeing to provide records that could reveal whether the salacious Trump-Russia “dossier” was used to justify FBI surveillance of Trump campaign officials.
The chairman of the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., says he has spoken with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and a deal had been reached with Justice to provide witnesses and documents about the probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Included in the deal is evidence about the dossier, funded by Democratic operatives and containing unsubstantiated allegations of Trump collusion with Russia.
“After speaking to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein this evening, I believe the House Intelligence Committee has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice that will provide the committee with access to all the documents and witnesses we have requested,” Nunes said in a statement late Wednesday.
“The committee looks forward to receiving access to the documents over the coming days.”
Nunes announced the deal after FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein unexpectedly met with House Speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday afternoon to discuss the months-long document request from congressional investigators.
The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee paid more than $9 million to opposition research firm GPS Fusion which, in turn, retained former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele to create the salacious, unverified dossier of allegations.
The House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department on Aug. 24, giving them until Sept. 1 to provide information about the nature of the FBI’s relationship with Steele, how much Steele was paid and to what extent the dossier was relied upon to obtain FISA warrants and launch the FBI’s investigation into Russian activities during the 2016 election campaign.
Former FBI Director James Comey insisted the dossier be included in January’s final Intelligence Community Report on claims of Russian meddling in the election and reportedly offered Steele $50,000 to corroborate the dossier.
Justice ignored the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee’s request to turn over dossier-related documents and witnesses for months, prompting Nunes in recent days to lash out against the DOJ, suggesting the department was doing so deliberately.
Last month, Nunes reportedly threatened to vote to hold the DOJ and FBI in contempt of Congress if they did not turn over the sought materials.
Nunes sent Rosenstein a letter on Dec. 28 blasting the Justice Department and demanding the documents finally be provided to the committee by Wednesday.
“At this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves,” Nunes wrote in a letter to Rosenstein last week.
A source familiar with the investigation into alleged Russian collusion told WND Wednesday that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee don’t want the FBI to provide the dossier witnesses and documents because their primary objective is to make sure the Russia probe continues for the foreseeable future.
“Every time we do anything on this, it’s always in the face of bitter, bitter resistance from the Democrats,” the source who spoke to WND on condition of anonymity said. “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 – 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.
“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.”
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.”