Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday of trying to protect special counsel Robert Mueller by slow-walking document requests from Congress in its oversight of the executive branch.
Multiple congressional committees have been requesting, demanding and even issuing subpoenas for hundreds of thousands of DOJ and FBI documents related to the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business.
Fitton told Fox News host Laura Ingraham of “The Ingraham Angle” that he believes DOJ officials are withholding documents because they are hiding the partisan political character of their conduct of the Clinton email probe.
“Everything that has come out has undermined the credibility of the Mueller investigation, and that’s why we’re getting this modified and limited handout approach to document production,” said Fitton (pictured above left).
“The Democratic talking points aren’t too far off from the Justice Department’s talking points in going after the oversight function of Congress. Remember, we had the allegations that [Rod] Rosenstein threatened a criminal investigation because the oversight was too aggressive towards him and the Justice Department. What are they hiding here?”
Also on the panel with Fitton were San Francisco-based attorney and California Republican National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon (shown here, above right), along with Scott Bolden, an attorney and Democratic Party advocate (shown below right).
“I don’t think they are running behind, Laura, I think they are running in the opposite direction with these documents,” Dhillon said. “The subpoena was actually, exactly, three months ago, and the due date was two weeks after the subpoena. So it’s two and a half months late now.”
Bolden disagreed, saying, “I also don’t think the DOJ is running from their responsibilities with a congressional subpoena. Here’s the deal, Laura. There is a balance here, as you know as a lawyer that — sure we have to have congressional compliance with subpoenas, but at the same time we have ongoing investigations, highly sensitive information including FISA warrants that go to a secret court, as well as all these other documents that the DOJ and FBI are concerned about turning over because they don’t want to prejudice the investigation.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is at the center of the slow-walking production of documents Congress has requested. He also appointed Mueller to investigate allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian interests.
“It’s going to highlight the political nature of the beginning of the Russian investigation,” Fitton said. “How, when and why, not only the dossier, but generally the targeting of Donald Trump, which began even before the dossier was used by the Justice Department and FBI.”
Leaders of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House Judiciary Committee, and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reforms met with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on June 15 to discuss the stalemate with DOJ.
Oversight panel chief Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said Ryan made it very clear there was going to be action on the floor of the House if DOJ continues to slow-walk document production.
The June 14 report of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz documented reams of evidence of what Gowdy described as “textbook bias” against Trump during the FBI’s email investigation. But Horowitz concluded that the anti-Trump bias did not shape DOJ’s decision not to prosecute Clinton, prompting numerous Republicans to call for an end to the special counsel investigation, according to The Hill.
A Politico/Morning Consult survey recently found in a recent poll that Mueller’s favorability fell to just 32 percent.