Trey Gowdy Blows a Gasket Over DOJ and FBI Obstruction

There has been a long-running battle between the House of Representatives and the Department of Justice and FBI over producing documents related to some of the FBI’s and Justice’s most high profile actions, such as materials on the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the investigation of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the firing of Andrew McCabe from the FBI.

While millions of pages of documents have been requested, only a paltry number of pages have actually been produced. Added to this was a refusal by Justice, until last Friday, to allow the House Intelligence Committee review the FISA warrant application on Carter Page. This only happened because FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General were looking at contempt of Congress citations. Other half measures included Wray increasing the number of FBI staff reviewing documents. But the anxiety is high enough that even Attorney General Jeff Sessions was getting exercised.

More to the point, over the past few days, President Trump has taken direct aim at DOJ and the FBI over their lack of response to demands from Congressional Republicans.

You really don’t want to see this on your way to work.

And there were signs that the House GOP was losing its sense of humor. On Saturday, Mark Meadows had this to say:

Rep. Mark Meadows, a top conservative from North Carolina, said Saturday there is a “growing consensus” among his colleagues to use the contempt of Congress statute amid frustration with the Justice Department’s failure to comply with a subpoena and hand over 1.2 million documents related to three investigations.

“But it’s not enough to stop there,” the Republican added during an interview on Fox News hours after President Trump vented about the matter on Twitter, accusing his Justice Department of “slow walking” after missing the deadline on Thursday.

“Here are the next two things you have to do,” Meadows told Fox News’s Judge Jeanine Pirro. “We have given a short deadline. I’ve given a deadline of this week. We need to see the documents.”

He claimed the “easiest thing for them to do” now is for Rosenstein to call DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz “who has the documents and say just give them to Congress.”

If Rosenstein fails to take action to allow Congress to “have our constitutional oversight authority supported, then we’ll find someone who can,” Meadows said.

He went on to suggest that impeachment is a possibility.

Today, Jeff Sessions, in what may win the “too little too late” award, appointed a US attorney, John Lausch from the Northern District of Illinois, to oversee document production.

I’m sure a lot of people will dismiss Mark Meadows out of hand, but he wasn’t the only guy upset.

Trey Gowdy was underwhelmed.

And this is the key point. The FBI and Justice are treating Congressional oversight like it was a FOIA request. It isn’t. The agencies don’t get to decide what they will and will not give up. At this point, I think something has to give. And you can bet if a House Committee votes a contempt of Congress citation over document production that Rosenstein and Wray are gone and Sessions will be the guy turning the lights out as Trump will fire him, too.