House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said today that the FBI had decided to withhold documents, including memos, notes, summaries, and recordings, requested by his committee in regards to the ongoing Russia probe. This was revealed in a letter sent by Chaffetz to the FBI responding to the agency’s decision to withhold documents requested by the Committee on May 16, 2017.
The FBI’s denial to cooperate is presented below:
According to a statement by the Oversight Committee, “Chaffetz requested memos, notes, summaries, and recordings to assist in the Committee’s investigation of the FBI’s independence, and which are outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation.”
The documents are due June 8, 2017, but that may not happen as it appears the FBI is suddenly unwilling to cooperate.
As Chaffetz elaborates, after a New York Times report that former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Corney memorialized the content of phone calls and meetings with the President in a series of memoranda, he requested those memoranda and any related notes, summaries, and recordings. The FBI is withholding those documents, citing to the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Prosecutor. According to a letter from your staff: “In light of this development and other considerations [the Bureau] is undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interest implicated by your request are properly evaluated.
The letter states:
“The Committee has its own, Constitutionally-based prerogative to conduct investigations. But the Committee in no way wants to impede or interfere with the Special Counsel’s ability to conduct his investigation. In fact, the Committee’s investigation will complement the work of the Special Counsel. Whereas the Special Counsel is conducting a criminal or counterintelligence investigation that will occur largely behind closed doors, the Committee’s work will shed light on matters of high public interest, regardless of whether there is evidence of criminal conduct.
“The focus of the Committee’s investigation is the independence of the FBI, including conversations between the President and Comey and the process by which Comey was removed from his role as director. The records being withheld are central to those questions, even more so in light of Comey’s decision not to testify before the Committee at this time.”
“I am seeking to better understand Comey’s communications with the White House and Attorney General in such a way that does not implicate the Special Counsel’s work.”
As Chaffetz concludes, “Congress and the American public have a right and a duty to examine this issue independently of the Special Counsel’s investigation. I trust and hope you understand this and make the right decision-to produce these documents to the Committee immediately and on a voluntary basis.”
The American public is certainly looking forward to the FBI’s release of the full content of the Comey’s memos, not only those relating to his meetings with Trump, but just as importantly, with Loretta Lynch, as well as Barack Obama and/or Hillary Clinton.