The senior counsel for the House intelligence committee is urging lawmakers to seek a contempt of Congress citation against the FBI and Justice Department for not turning over requested documents related to the Trump dossier, according to Fox News.
The committee subpoenaed the documents in late August but is facing stonewalling by the FBI and DOJ. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia matter and cannot force them to turn over the documents, and Obama-era officials still at the DOJ are suspected of slow-rolling the request.
Some of the documents were shaken loose after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called on them to comply.
President Trump urged them to hand over the information immediately, as well as an FBI witness.
“The House of Representatives seeks contempt citations(?) against the JusticeDepartment and the FBI for withholding key documents and an FBI witness which could shed light on surveillance of associates of Donald Trump. Big stuff. Deep State. Give this information NOW! @Fox News,” he tweeted Wednesday.
The House of Representatives seeks contempt citations(?) against the JusticeDepartment and the FBI for withholding key documents and an FBI witness which could shed light on surveillance of associates of Donald Trump. Big stuff. Deep State. Give this information NOW! @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
The documents are expected to shed light on what the FBI and Justice Department did with the Trump dossier, and whether they used the unverified and salacious document to obtain surveillance warrants against Trump campaign members and to launch the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign.
If so, that would mean the government, under the Obama administration, sought an investigation on an election candidate of an opposing political party based off of a piece of political opposition research by his opponent that has not been verified by any U.S. intelligence agency. This month, FBI and DOJ officials told the House intelligence committee they could not verify the dossier’s claims on collusion, according to the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York.
The dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which her campaign effectively controlled. Her campaign and the DNC’s law firm, Perkins Coie, hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to look into Trump’s ties with Russia. Fusion GPS hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to conduct the research. He created memos of raw data that compose the dossier, relying on unknown Russian sources.
Steele took the dossier to the FBI in early July, and the FBI launched its investigation in late July. Surveillance warrants were obtained against Trump campaign members mentioned in the dossier later that year. However, U.S. intelligence agencies could not verify the dossier and did not include it in any of its intelligence assessments. There are reports that the FBI reimbursed Steele for some of his expenses and reached an agreement to fund the dossier research, but that the agreement later fell through.
Clinton, her campaign manager John Podesta, DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, and other campaign aides deny knowing about the dossier before it was published in January 2017. Her campaign manager, Robby Mook, admitted that he had given a sum of money to Perkins Coie to conduct research into Trump’s international business ties but claims he didn’t know it had hired Fusion GPS.
While Fusion GPS was working on the dossier, it was also working for a Russian lawyer on a pro-Russian lobbying campaign. That lawyer sought a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., meeting with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson before and after that meeting.
“Congressional overseers are just trying to find out information, about how that Clinton operation, that dossier, was used by Obama-era intelligence agencies. Now if there’s nothing bad, if there’s no problem there, they should have turned that information in March, and yet their stonewalling and obstructing suggests that there might be something very bad to find out there,” said Mollie Hemingway, senior editor of the Federalist, on Fox News.
“These are things that people have a right to know,” she said.