House Committee Subpoenas FBI, DOJ in Russia Investigation

Byron York reports that Trey Gowdy’s House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the FBI and the Department of Justice over the origins of the fictitious Russian “dossier” that was used to smear Donald Trump during the presidential campaign:

In the most significant escalation yet in the wrangling between Congress and the FBI over the Trump dossier, the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the bureau and the Justice Department for documents relating to the dossier, the FBI’s relationship with dossier author Christopher Steele, and the bureau’s possible role in supporting what began as an opposition research project against candidate Donald Trump in the final months of last year’s presidential campaign.

There is some reason to believe that the FBI was enlisted to support the Hillary Clinton campaign by promoting, and perhaps paying for, the fake Russian dossier. If that is true, it is a major scandal. The FBI and DOJ are still not cooperating in the committee’s investigation:

The committee issued the subpoenas — one to the FBI, an identical one to the Justice Department — on August 24, giving both until last Friday, September 1, to turn over the information.

Neither FBI nor Justice turned over the documents, and now the committee has given them an extension until September 14 to comply.

The committee has now also subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to come before the committee and explain why the requested information has not been supplied. It has been trying to obtain information from the agencies since May, and has been stonewalled.

“A subpoena is a tool of last resort in Congress,” Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, said.

This makes zero sense to me. Every auto accident lawyer in America uses subpoenas to compel the testimony of witnesses under oath and the production of documents. I am not, in general, a big fan of Congressional investigations, but if an investigation is worth conducting, I don’t understand how it can possibly be done without using subpoenas, putting witnesses under oath and under penalty of perjury, and compelling the production of relevant documents. The Obama administration successfully stonewalled virtually every investigation conducted by Congress because it was treated with kid gloves.

[T]he House committee wants to know the origin of the FBI’s involvement in the creation of the [Russian dossier]. They are particularly interested to know whether the FBI or Justice Department ever presented information from the dossier — unverified, possibly from paid informants — to a court as a basis for obtaining a surveillance warrant in the Russia investigation.

We still don’t know whether the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign during the election, although the number of “unmasking” requests from Obama operatives certainly suggests that such spying went on. If the Obama administration obtained warrants by presenting faked information from Russian sources that was solicited or paid for by the FBI, we have another major scandal, far eclipsing minor matters like Watergate. But Obama’s bureaucrats are, it appears, more determined to hide the truth than Congressional investigators are to uncover it.

the House committee wants to know the origin of the FBI’s involvement in the creation of the document. They are particularly interested to know whether the FBI or Justice Department ever presented information from the dossier — unverified, possibly from paid informants — to a court as a basis for obtaining a surveillance warrant in the Russia investigation.

Actually, I don’t think Jeff Sessions is running the Department of Justice. That agency has been thoroughly politicized to turn it into a tool of the Democratic Party, and Sessions’ influence is limited at best. But that is a story for another day.

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