- President Donald Trump launched another salvo at the Department of Justice and the FBI Saturday, after the DOJ missed a deadline to respond to a document subpoena from Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.
- Trump accused the DOJ of “slow walking” its response to the subpoena and suggested the agency had something to hide.
- Trump’s broadsides against the DOJ and FBI have grown steadily louder as the Russia investigation closes in on the White House.
President Donald Trump fired another shot at the FBI and the Department of Justice on Saturday, accusing them of “slow walking” their response to the House Judiciary Committee’s request to view unredacted documents related to several high-profile investigations.
“Lawmakers of the House Judiciary Committee are angrily accusing the Department of Justice of missing the Thursday Deadline for turning over UNREDACTED Documents relating to FISA abuse, FBI, Comey, Lynch, McCabe, Clinton Emails and much more,” Trump tweeted. “Slow walking – what is going on? BAD!”
He added: “What does the Department of Justice and FBI have to hide? Why aren’t they giving the strongly requested documents (unredacted) to the HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE? Stalling, but for what reason? Not looking good!”
The president’s tweets came after the DOJ missed a Thursday deadline to turn over documents to the committee connected to the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, the firing of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, and the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide during the 2016 election.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House panel, issued a subpoena to the DOJ last month amid increased calls from Republican lawmakers to investigate the nation’s top law enforcement agencies over what they characterised as potential corruption and anti-Trump bias.
Rep. Mark Meadows, who is a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and who has long been asking to review the documents, slammed the DOJ for missing the Thursday deadline.
“We got no documents from the Department of Justice,” Meadows tweeted. “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.”
The House Judiciary Committee has requested approximately 1.2 million documents from the DOJ and has received about 3000,according to The Hill. A DOJ spokesperson said the agency believes it has 30,000 documents that are relevant to the committee’s request.
Late last month, FBI director Christopher Wray announced that the bureau would double the number of people responsible for handling Goodlatte’s requests in the hopes of expediting the process.
Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “So sad that the Department of ‘Justice’ and the FBI are slow walking, or even not giving, the unredacted documents requested by Congress. An embarrassment to our country!”
On Friday, CNN reported that the DOJ will allow all members on the House and Senate intelligence committees to view the application it submitted to obtain a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign foreign-policy aide Carter Page at the height of the election.
The development came after Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee waged a fierce campaign to discredit the FBI’s and DOJ’s surveillance process, alleging that the agencies abused their authority when seeking the warrant against Page.
The initial warrant was obtained in October 2016. The application was subsequently renewed multiple times by several DOJ officials after each independently found cause to suspect that Page was being cultivated as an unwitting agent of the Russian government.
Trump’s broadsides against the DOJ have grown steadily louder as the special counsel Robert Mueller zeroes in on the White House while investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election, and whether Trump sought to obstruct justice when he fired FBI director James Comey last year.
Trump has repeatedly characterised the investigation as a politically-motivated “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” adding that investigators should instead focus on Clinton, his former presidential rival.