Goodlatte Says DOJ and FBI Face New Document Deadline
The House Judiciary Committee chairman declares, 'We'll do whatever it takes to get the information that leads us to the truth'
Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials must turn over key documents on their investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server by Monday at 5 p.m., House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Sunday.
“We’re also looking forward to making sure that [the officials] understand this is an ongoing investigation, and this production has to continue because we’re going to identify new documents,” Goodlatte said on the Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“We would prefer to have them produced voluntarily rather than use more subpoenas, but we’ll do whatever it takes to get the information that leads us to the truth,” Goodlatte said.
Half a dozen House and Senate committees have been seeking documents regarding the DOJ and FBI investigations into Clinton’s use of a private server and email address to conduct official diplomatic business while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, along with events that led to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Top DOJ and FBI officials finally began ramping up their sluggish document production pace over the past several weeks after congressional investigators threatened to hold them in contempt or impeach them.
The DOJ sent House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) a letter Friday claiming the department delivered information requested about the FBI’s “confidential human sources” used prior to the Russian collusion investigation to glean information from Trump campaign members.
The FBI also noted in letters Friday to Nunes, Goodlatte and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) that it had released thousands of other documents as well.
“We’ve had an ongoing relationship” with DOJ and FBI officials, Goodlatte said, noting that they provided congressional investigators with a “document room” allowing them to view more than 1 million subpoenaed documents in their unredacted forms. The subpoenas resulted in “dramatic changes in how they have responded to us,” Goodlatte insisted.
“This document room … is very, very important and has yielded a tremendous amount of information — thousands of documents produced at our request. We have seen them all unredacted before we get them,” Goodlatte said. “So that’s very important. We had additional specific requests. They were slow with some of those. And, in fact, one of those is still promised to us by 5:00 tomorrow. We’re looking forward to seeing that.”
Both Goodlatte and Nunes are awaiting more DOJ and FBI documents by Monday evening’s new deadline. Goodlatte said DOJ is producing more documents and “scrambling because there’s a lot of pressure on them from a lot of members of Congress who’ve been outspoken about the unresponsiveness.”
DOJ and FBI officials “need to keep it up and need to keep supplying us with this information,” Goodlatte said.
Goodlatte said he subpoenaed former senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok to appear before the Judiciary and Oversight committees on Wednesday for a nonpublic deposition. Strzok was a key manager in both the Clinton and Russia collusion probes. Mueller removed him from the Trump-Russia investigation after pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to his attention.
“We … are very disturbed by the connection between these two investigations, the same characters being involved, the disparate way they gave very special treatment to Hillary Clinton,” Goodlatte said, noting that Strzok “is a key figure” in both investigations.
“We have a lot of questions for Mr. Strzok about his involvement in both of these investigations and the apparent bias that those text messages reflect. We indicated we wanted him to come,” Goodlatte explained. “His attorney recently said he’d come voluntarily. But then, when we had everything set, it became apparent that he was not committing to the time and place that we thought we had agreed upon.”
“So I issued the subpoena last Friday, and he is commanded to appear on Wednesday,” Goodlatte added. “Lots of questions that are unanswered.”
Noting that he expects “honest, forthright answers” from Strzok during the closed testimony Wednesday, Goodlatte said Strzok has “a lot of information that it’s very important that he shares with the American people.”
“The first interview, however, on Wednesday is a closed deposition. We do plan to have a public hearing in a short while after that,” Goodlatte said. “We want to know what he has to say. We want to know it now. It furthers our investigation.”