Top Republicans Divided on Russia Probe Docs
Republicans disagree about whether the Justice Department and the FBI are cooperating enough with their requests for sensitive documents that are relevant to the probe of Russian meddling with the 2016 US presidential elections.
Last week the FBI stated that it had sent letters to three key House Republican committee chairmen stating that it had given to Congress thousands of new documents. The documents were handed over in response to questioning about the investigation of contacts between associates of President Trump and people linked to Russia during the campaign.
The FBI’s revelation received a positive reaction from Speaker Paul Ryan. His office said that House committees were “finally getting access” to documents that have been demanded by the committees for quite a while. Though not all the requests have been forthcoming, a spokeswoman for Ryan said that the FBI is asking for more time, which is reasonable.
Other GOP representatives are also approving of the FBI’s move. Aides to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, and Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, from South Carolina, also expressed satisfaction, saying that they are in positive negotiations with DOJ to acquire documents, while also stating that they fully expect to get the rest of the documents that they have asked for.
Not all Republicans agree that the investigation is proceeding well. Trump and one of his key House allies, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) overturned the fragile peace. Meadows, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus posted on Twitter, complaining of the intransigence of the DOJ.
“New reports of DOJ/FBI compliance with document requests are NOT accurate,” he wrote. “While they have turned over additional documents, the new documents represent a small percentage of what they owe. The notion that DOJ/FBI have been forthcoming with Congress is false.”
President Trump used the conflict to complain about the DOJ and the FBI as part of his continuing campaign to delegitimize the investigation.
“I have tried to stay uninvolved with the Department of Justice and FBI (although I do not legally have to), because of the now totally discredited and very expensive Witch Hunt currently going on,” he tweeted. “But you do have to ask why the DOJ & FBI aren’t giving over requested documents?”