Two House committees investigating FBI and Justice Department actions surrounding the 2016 election issued a subpoena Thursday for memos written by fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as one key witness said he will no longer speak to lawmakers.
The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees subpoenaed the Justice Department for the McCabe memos. The subpoena also covers all documents related to the FBI’s application and renewal of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for Carter Page, a key Trump campaign figure, and any documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe that were provided to a group of bipartisan senators known as the Gang of Eight.
But Republican lawmakers may have hit a roadblock on the FISA warrant investigation. A lawyer for Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the research firm that compiled and distributed a salacious anti-Trump dossier used to obtain the FISA warrant, said his client will no longer cooperate with investigators.
Joshua Levy, who is representing Mr. Simpson, who co-founded GPS Fusion, said witnesses who have appeared before lawmakers have been slandered and their testimony misrepresented.
“The ‘task force’ for its part, has established a clear and abundant record of abusing the confidential interview process in order to mischaracterize the statements of witnesses and unjustly slander and impugn them in public,” Mr. Simpson said in a letter to the chairmen of both committees.
The chairmen, Republican Reps. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, are investigating the FBI’s use of the dossier.
GPS Fusion paid former British spy Christopher Steele to compile the dossier, which was part of opposition research funded by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The dossier wounded up at the FBI, believed to have been given to the bureau by Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official whose wife, Nellie Ohr, was a contract employee at GPS Fusion.
Mr. Levy compared the committees’ investigation to the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist hearings in the 1950s, accusing GOP lawmakers of repeating the same “treacherous tactics.”
Mr. Simpson has appeared for three congressional interviews as part of the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Mr. Levy said his client’s testimony, which was supposed to be confidential, was misrepresented to the public.
“Republican members and staff selectively quoted and otherwise misrepresented to the media and public the contents of Mr. Simpson’s prior confidential testimony in a series of transparent and cynical attempts to impugn him and incriminate him,” Mr. Levy said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Goodlatte, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, made good on his threat to subpoena the McCabe memos.
“Given the department’s ongoing delays and/or refusal to produce these documents, I am left with no choice but to issue the enclosed subpoena to compel their production,” he wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Conservative lawmakers have demanded Mr. McCabe’s memos become public since The New York Times reported last week that he attended a meeting where Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly recording President Trump and suggested removing the president from office through the 25th Amendment.
Mr. Rosenstein has denied the report. He was set to meet Thursday with Mr. Trump to discuss The New York Times report, but the meeting was pushed back because of the Senate hearing to address sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Mr. Goodlatte has been among the most ardent advocates for releasing the McCabe memos. He told Fox News this week that the notes could “very directly bear upon” the accuracy of The New York Times story.
“I think a lot of light can be shed on that if the documents we’ve been requesting for quite some time are made public,” he told the network Sunday. “If they’re not produced by tomorrow or Tuesday this week, we are going to issue a subpoena to the Justice Department.”
The subpoena comes as conservative lawmakers turn up the heat on Mr. Goodlatte to have Mr. Rosenstein testify before the Judiciary Committee.
On Tuesday, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, said Mr. Rosenstein must explain The New York Times story under oath or face possible impeachment.
“You can’t have the number two official at the Department of Justice making comments about wiring the president and not address it,” Mr. Meadows tweeted. “Rod Rosenstein must come before Congress this week, under oath, and tell the truth about his alleged statements.”
Mr. Meadows is the second Republican member of Congress to threaten impeachment if Mr. Rosenstein does not testify. Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, told Fox News this week he will push to impeach Mr. Rosenstein if he doesn’t testify before Congress.
“Republicans have shown time and time again that they are willing to cherry pick, mischaracterize and leak sensitive law enforcement and counter intelligence information, putting our national security at risk,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, in a statement.
Mr. McCabe was fired from the FBI this year, days before his retirement amid a Justice Department Inspector General report accusing him of misleading investigators probing the FBI’s handling of the 2016 Hillary Clinton email investigation.
The New York Times cited sources who viewed Mr. McCabe’s memos as saying the notes detailed Mr. Rosenstein’s alleged plan to record the president in the days after FBI Director James B. Comey was fired.
The report fueled intense media speculation that Mr. Rosenstein would be fired or resign. However, the fervor died down after what appeared to be a friendly meeting Monday with White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump hinted that Mr. Rosenstein’s job may be safe. The president told reporters that he would prefer not to fire Mr. Rosenstein. He also said Mr. Rosenstein assured him The New York Times’ report was untrue.
“We’ve had a good talk,” Mr. Trump said. “He said he didn’t say it. He says he doesn’t believe it. He says he has a lot of respect for me and he was very nice and we’ll see.”
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