Top House Republicans are concerned that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s unwillingness to provide certain information about the Mar-a-Lago raid to Congress through “transparent” channels will result in the public gleaning information only through Democrat leaks to the media.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was the first to raise the issue, noting in a letter last week that a Justice Department offer to meet with a “narrow group” in Congress “mimics initial engagements by the Obama Administration during the Russia collusion hoax investigation.”
The Justice Department on August 26 offered to brief the so-called “gang of eight,” comprising congressional leadership and the top members from each party on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, on the Mar-a-Lago raid, as well as on the Intelligence Community’s review of seized items, two senior aides confirmed.
The department offered the briefing, which would take place behind closed doors, hours after the heavily redacted affidavit associated with the raid was made public.
McCarthy recalled in his letter, signed by three other top House Republicans, Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-KY), and Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), that during the Russia collusion investigation, “senior Obama Administration officials attempted to limit interactions with Congress and shroud their politically motivated investigation into the Trump Campaign under the guise of national security.”
🚨 NEW → Just put AG Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray on notice for their appearance in public hearings before @JudiciaryGOP concerning the unprecedented raid on President Trump’s home.
They must provide all communications and documents relating to the raid. pic.twitter.com/BgzOuo3dgY
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) September 2, 2022
“This secrecy allowed bad actors to leak cherry-picked information about alleged Russian collusion to create false public narratives and mislead the American people,” the Republicans wrote.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a member of the “gang of eight,” has shown a pattern of leaking selective information to the media to shape a public narrative, Jordan told Breitbart News in a phone interview Tuesday.
Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee since 2015, gained a strong enough reputation during the Russia collusion investigation for leaking information to the media that when Trump was exonerated of the collusion accusations in March 2019, several Republicans, including Trump himself, called on Schiff to resign over said leaks, as detailed in an ABC report.
“You have been at the center of a well-orchestrated media campaign claiming, among other things, the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government,” Intelligence Committee Republicans wrote in a letter in 2019. “The findings of the Special Counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information, having damaged the integrity of this Committee, and undermined faith in U.S. government institutions.”
In a Washington Times opinion piece from September 2020 titled “Congressional leakers like Adam Schiff need to be investigated and prosecuted,” attorney Jed Babbin wrote that Schiff “fought tooth and nail” to prevent his then-Intelligence Committee Republican counterpart Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) from disclosing information about the Russia investigation “while a flood of anti-Trump ‘Russia collusion’ leaks to the media came from either Mr. Schiff, his staff or other Democrats.”
Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) called Schiff an “epidemic leaker” during a Fox News appearance in 2020, urging top intelligence officials to “quit briefing him.”
Jordan, who was temporarily appointed by McCarthy to the Intelligence Committee in 2019 during Trump’s first impeachment investigation, told Breitbart News, “It wasn’t just what they did with Russia. It’s what they did with impeachment.”
“Remember impeachment week, we sat down in that bunker in the basement day after day and they would leak out the opening statement,” Jordan said. “So someone’s coming in, giving their opening statement, and they’re already leaking it out to the press while Schiff is telling us all in the room, to staff and members, ‘Now, you know, this is in a SCIF and don’t be leaking it and the rules of a deposition—’ … That’s the game they always play. We’ll follow the rules and they won’t.”
Jordan added, “So I was glad Kevin told them, ‘No. Make this transparent. Come in front of the Judiciary Committee and answer our questions that the country has.’”
McCarthy and his colleagues demanded in their letter last week that Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray appear before the Judiciary Committee for a public hearing and produce communications and other documents related to the Mar-a-Lago raid.
The letter follows Jordan sending notices on August 15 to Garland and Wray to produce the same documents and, furthermore, to preserve such documents in anticipation of House Republicans taking the majority in November and thereby regaining authority to conduct formal investigations.
The letter also comes after Jordan and his colleagues made numerous public calls for Garland and Wray to appear before the Judiciary Committee, though a formal arrangement for such a hearing would need to come from committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
The Justice Department, in responses obtained by Breitbart News to both McCarthy’s and Jordan’s letters, which can be read here and here, maintained that it could not provide the requested info to Republicans because the department only “speaks through its court filings.”
Jordan expressed that the Justice Department’s refusal to work with a congressional committee on the Mar-a-Lago raid while making an offer for a private briefing about it to the gang of eight is reminiscent of the way the Justice Department disseminated information about the Russia collusion investigation. It opens the possibility of Democrats, namely Schiff, leaking information “that supports his narrative,” he said.
“When you do this in a classified setting, Schiff can come out and say things that may not necessarily be accurate, and he can leak things in a way that supports his narrative that may not be accurate,” Jordan said. “And based on experience, we knew it was inaccurate relative to the Russia investigation.”