Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray face being held in contempt of Congress and potential impeachment if they do not meet a deadline to hand over a key document to the House Intelligence Committee by midnight Wednesday.
“We’re at a boiling point where we need this, what is only a two page document,” committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Tuesday evening. “It’s less than two pages from what I understand.”
The committee subpoenaed a number of documents from the Justice Department and the FBI in August, but has faced stonewalling from those departments since, despite repeated requests via in-person meetings, phone calls, and emails.
Nunes had requested in particular the document, or electronic communication, that was used to launch the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2017. That document would list the justification for the investigation, and who signed off on it.
Nunes said he does not know what will be in the document, but the DOJ’s refusal to hand it over could indicate it is something they do not want Congress to see.
“Just the fact that they’re not giving it to us tells me there’s something wrong here,” he said.
The DOJ has allowed one committee member from each side to see only a heavily redacted version of the document.
In the meantime, “current and former” law enforcement officials leaked to the New York Times on December 30 that the justification for the investigation was an Australian diplomat’s conversation with former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
“We have the full right to that information,” Nunes said. “I can tell you this, we are going to get the document, we are going to get the two pages. They can either cough them up now or it will get really complicated starting tomorrow night, and we’ll have to take all the steps necessary in order to get the documents.”
“We’re not going to just hold in contempt, we will have a plan to hold in contempt and impeach,” he added. “We’re not messing around here.”
Asked whether the DOJ would provide the committee with greater access to the document, spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores responded, “When we have an announcement we’ll share it.”
Nunes warned that his committee would obtain the documents one way or another:
Congress — the legislative branch — we created these agencies and they have a responsibility to give us documents when we ask for them. We have the appropriate clearances, that’s why the House Intelligence Committee exists.
At the end of the day, we’re going to win on this, and it’s just a matter of how tough they’re going to make it for Congress to do their job.
The mounting pressure on Rosenstein comes as the president is growing increasingly frustrated with the special counsel investigation, which is now reportedly investigating payments to porn-actress Stormy Daniels and an infamous Hollywood Access tape in which he made crude comments about women.
Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Russia probe, it has fallen to Rosenstein to set limits on the special counsel. Earlier this week, the FBI raided the home, office, and hotel of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen, purportedly to look for evidence on payments to women and other issues.
Last week, Trump mentioned Rosenstein’s signing of one of the FBI applications used to get a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign member Carter Page.
While Republicans have warned Trump against firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, they have been less vocal about Rosenstein, and some of his advisers are counseling him to fire him.
Nunes dismissed accusations that he is trying to help Trump.
“Whenever I see evidence of Russian collusion, I’ll be the first person standing out there on the steps of the Capitol,” he said. “I haven’t found it yet, but I found a whole lot of other stuff that always puts DOJ and FBI in a bad light, unfortunately.”