Once again, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has missed another House Committee document request deadline. Congressional committee chairmen Devin Nunes (R – CA), Trey Gowdy (R – SC) and Bob Goodlatte (R – VA) demanded that unredacted copies of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey wrote to himself following meetings with Trump, be produced by Monday afternoon.
The Congressmen agreed to extend the deadline, but it’s unclear if a firm date has been set. One of Trey Gowdy’s aides said that Rosenstein asked for a “few more days to check with the relevant parties.”
“Relevant parties,” of course, refers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Rep. Ratcliffe, (R – TX), a former US Attorney, spoke to Fox News on Tuesday and said he does not understand the delay, especially because “they’re largely in the public record already, law professors have seen them, reporters have had access to them. And Jim Comey is talking about them.” (Please see video below.)
Rosenstein claims he is concerned about the classification of the memos and must discuss this with Robert Mueller, the special counsel.
“The Comey memos are particularly sensitive because they’re believed to be at the heart of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether Trump obstructed justice by seeking to interfere in the Russia probe.”
Unfortunately, it’s a little late to worry about that. Given that people with no security clearances have already viewed these memos, Rosenstein’s hesitation to allow members of Congress, who have all the required clearances to see them, seems a bit misplaced.
Shortly after he was fired last May, a very angry James Comey gave copies of these memos to his friend, Columbia University Law School professor Daniel Richman, and instructed him to leak them to the media, which he did.
James Comey freely admitted to leaking the memos as he testified under oath to Congress last June.
He claims that the leaked memos did not contain any classified information, but Republicans aren’t so sure, especially because they have not had access to them.
The New York Times published the story on May 16, 2017 with the headline “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him To End Flynn Investigation.” The lead of the article appears below and the entire article can be read here.
“WASHINGTON — President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.
“The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.”
Michael Schmidt, the author of this article, explains the story in the video below.
Comey hoped that news of these memos would cause Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel to investigate the President, and Rosenstein did not disappoint.
Within days, Rosenstein appointed his own long-time friend, Robert Mueller.
It is interesting to note that, after Comey was fired, Robert Mueller, who had been the FBI Director from 2001 to 2013, wanted his old job back.
Trump, instead, chose Christopher Wray, adding to the bitterness between them.
So, here we are again.
This scenario has become so familiar.
Rod Rosenstein is holding the Republicans in Congress hostage – again.
Every Congressional document request to the DOJ and the FBI has been met with stonewalling.
They are trying to run out the clock until the November midterm elections.
If Democrats win back the House, which is likely, and the Senate, which is possible, the Congressional investigations of DOJ and FBI misconduct/abuse of power will go away.
Republicans have six and a half months to gather evidence of wrongdoing.
It is ludicrous that a Columbia law professor and New York Times Reporters have seen the memos, a story about the contents of the memos was published and James Comey is freely discussing them in interviews as he touts his new book, yet the documents are being withheld from members of Congress who have all the proper credentials.
It really defies logic.
Last week, as Nunes awaited an unredacted copy of the Electronic Communication that opened the Trump collusion investigation (originally subpoenaed last August), he threatened Rosenstein and Christopher Wray with both Contempt of Congress charges and possible impeachment votes and was finally allowed to view the document.
There is no more time for patience.
Devin Nunes needs to follow through on his threats to hold Rosenstein and others responsible for their refusal to cooperate.
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