As criticism mounts for its delay in turning over documents detailing FBI investigations surrounding the 2016 presidential election to separate House and Senate Committees, the Department of Justice has invited committee members to review the files at its headquarters.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd sent a letter late Friday to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes inviting congressman and senators to privately view the documents.
“The Department considers this an extraordinary accommodation based on unique facts and circumstances,” Mr. Boyd wrote. “We are also extending this review opportunity o members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Department will be in contact to arrange appropriate review sessions in the near future.”
The Justice Department missed the noon Thursday deadline to give the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees nearly 1.2 documents detailing the FBI decisions not to charge Hillary Clinton for use of a private email server, application and execution of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility recommendation to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Congressman had asked for the documents in November, but when they felt the Justice Department was too slow to comply, they issued a subpoena. Despite the power of a subpoena, the Justice Department still stalled in handing over the documents.
Republicans were quick to criticize the Justice Department once the deadline passed.
We got no documents from the Department of Justice,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, and a member of the Oversight Committee. “Just a phone call. This is unacceptable — it’s time to stop the games. Turn over the documents to Congress and allow us to conduct oversight.”
Only about 3,000 documents had been turned over.
Mr. Boyd blamed the delay on the sheer volume of documents and the number of necessary redactions. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from blasting the delay.
Even President Trump joined the fray Monday with a tweet.
“So sad that the Department of ‘Justice’ and the FBI are slow walking, or even not giving, the unredacted documented requested by Congress,” the president tweeted. “An embarrassment to our country!”
The president’s tweets came just days after FBI Director Christoper Wray announced last week that the bureau would double the number of personnel working on the Judiciary Committee’s request.
Mr. Wray said in a statement the bureau will comply with the subpoena but needed more time to produce the documents. To expedite the process, Mr. Wray ordered 54 staffers to work in two shifts from 8 a.m. to midnight.
“I agree the current pace of production is too slow,” Mr. Wray said in a statement.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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