Lawmakers’ Threats ‘Absolutely’ Led to DOJ Doc Deal, Goodlatte Says
House Judiciary chair said contempt warnings spurred Justice Dept. to let investigators see subpoenaed Clinton probe documents
by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 25 Apr 2018 at 6:49 AM
Lawmakers’ subpoenas and threats to hold top Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in contempt of Congress “absolutely” led to the deal finally allowing congressional investigators to view key documents, according to House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
“The department is now setting up a room at Justice where we will be able to send our investigators down there and see the documents,” Goodlatte said Tuesday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” noting that the investigators will be able to view “up to 1.2 million” documents.
“It’s important to understand that not all of those 1.2 million documents are relevant to our investigation. That is what was given to the inspector general [IG],” Goodlatte said, referring to DOJ IG Michael Horowitz.
House committee members threatened to hold DOJ and FBI officials in contempt of Congress for failing to meet subpoena deadlines for crucial documents. They pertain to the department’s investigations into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official business as secretary of state, among other matters.
But Goodlatte and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) finally reached an agreement with DOJ officials Monday.
When host Laura Ingraham asked Goodlatte if the DOJ’s cooperation was “the result of a threat of subpoena and perhaps contempt of Congress,” Goodlatte replied, “Absolutely.”
“We saw the same effect with the Comey memos last week,” Goodlatte said, referring to the release of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos detailing his conversations with President Donald Trump.
"Now the department is working with us and the FBI, by the way, to make some changes at the top and bring to bear the forces that be and follow the truth wherever it leads," Goodlatte continued. "I think it's going to lead to some interesting places."
Goodlatte said the deal he and Gowdy reached with DOJ officials allows the congressmen to view documents for which "their search terms yield documents," and also to allow lawmakers to "use our own search terms to find email communications and other communications and documents" within the subpoenaed documents.
The committee subpoenaed all documents that Horowitz obtained in his review into the department's conduct during investigations politicized during and after the 2016 presidential election.
"Of course, we're very interested in [Horowitz's] report as well," Goodlatte said. "But we have our own entitlement and our own investigation to look at those documents. They'll start producing documents. We will then have the opportunity to see them unredacted and then get possession of them, the ones that are most material to our investigation."
Goodlatte also believes that the congressional investigators will be able to view documents regarding the phone call that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, fired last month, says he had with former Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General (PADAG) Matthew Axelrod in August 2016.
"McCabe told the IG that on August 12, 2016, he received a telephone call from the principal associate deputy attorney general regarding the FBI's handling of the Clinton Foundation," Horowitz's report read. "McCabe said that the PADAG expressed concerns about FBI agents' taking overt steps in the Clinton Foundation investigation during the presidential campaign."
The report continued, "According to McCabe, he pushed back, asking, 'Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?' McCabe told us that the conversation was 'very dramatic,' and he never had a similar confrontation like [that] call with a high-level department official in his entire FBI career."
"So could you actually find some of these documents we were just referring to, perhaps, if this Matthew Axelrod was advised by someone else to call over to McCabe and say, 'We don't want any more problems with this investigation?'" Ingraham asked Goodlatte.
"Absolutely," Goodlatte replied. "Because that goes right to the core of our investigation in how the FBI handled all the matters related to former Secretary Clinton during 2016 and on into 2017."
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