Frustrated Nunes gives FBI, DoJ ultimatum to supply informant docs

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has given the FBI and DoJ until Tuesday to produce documents related to the government informant who sought evidence of ties between the Trump campaign and various Russians.

Nunes accused the bureau of using stalling tactics and said that any more delay would be "an obstruction of a lawful Congressional investigation."

Washington Examiner:

In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Friday, the California Republican demanded the documents be provided to all committee members "and designated staff," which would go beyond top members of Congress which have been invited to view material related to special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

"DOJ continues to obfuscate and delay its production using an array of tactics, such as incorrectly categorizing the requested documents as Gang-of-Eight-level material in order to limit access," Nunes wrote, according to Fox News.  "Such conduct by DOJ is unacceptable because the Gang-of-Eight is a legal fiction that has no basis outside of the confines of Presidential approval and reporting of covert actions."

The "Gang of Eight" are the majority and minority leaders of both the House and the Senate and the chairs and ranking minority members of both the Senate Committee and House Committee for intelligence.

Refusal to comply with the demand to allow lawmakers and "designated staff" to view requested documents would be "an obstruction of a lawful Congressional investigation," Nunes added.

"I will not relent in my duties on behalf of the American public to discover all the facts in this matter," Nunes said at the end of the letter. "Any response falling short of this request will be considered an effort to conceal material information from Congress – a dangerous precedent that threatens the core of our democracy."

A Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

These are not routine requests for documents, but the FBI is apparently treating them as such.  Designating some documents as Gang of Eight material lessens the likelihood of leaks, which could make the bureau and the DoJ look bad.

The FBI says Congress already has some of the documents relating to the informant, Stefan Halper.  They just haven't been shared with the full House intel committee.  This matter is more than procedural or administrative.  Giving the full committee access to all documents related to the informant will assist committee staff in preparing additional hearings that will probably be closed to the public but necessary nonetheless.

The Tuesday deadline suggests that Nunes believes that the FBI has the documents he is requesting already prepared to be handed over, but the bureau is dragging its feet.

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