The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) is threatening to “hold in contempt and impeach” FBI director Christopher Wray and Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if they do not turn over a less than two-page document requested by the committee months ago, which outlined the bureau’s initiation of the case to investigate President Trump’s 2016 campaign and alleged Russia collusion.
The document, known as an “Electronic Communication,” launched the FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, as previously reported. The deadline for the DOJ and bureau to produce the document is Wednesday evening. Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, told this reporter Tuesday night that the “Electronic Communication” is a central piece of information necessary to their ongoing investigation into the FBI and related matters.
“We’re not messing around here…”
Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Nunes has battled the DOJ and the Bureau for information for more than a year and threatened contempt in January when Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein refused to hand over documentation requested by the committee. Nunes is not expecting the situation to escalate but is adamant that the Committee get the requested “Electronic Communication” as well as the numerous other documents requested by Congress. He has the option to take the DOJ and Bureau to court, hold them in contempt and as a final option call for Wray and Rosentein’s impeachment.
On Tuesday night Nunes told Fox News Laura Ingraham that it “will get really complicated” if the DOJ and FBI do not comply by the deadline.
A congressional official, with knowledge of the ongoing committee investigation, said: “it is one-hundred percent certain that the committee will escalate the matter in a way they won’t like if the deadline is missed.”
Nunes told Ingraham, “we’re not going to just hold in contempt. We will have a plan to hold in contempt and to impeach.”
“To impeach Christopher Wray?” questioned Ingraham.
“Absolutely,” Nunes replied.
“We’re not messing around here,” said Nunes.
Last week, DOJ Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to the Intelligence Committee saying the DOJ would allow Congress to view the un-redacted version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Application the bureau obtained on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page in a secured facility. Page was accused by former British spy Christopher Steele in his dossier of colluding with the Russians. The Committee, which closed their collusion investigation last month, found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
READ: DOJ’S LETTER TO NUNES
Boyd did not address the “Electronic Communication” in the letter.
“The Department considers this an extraordinary accommodation based on unique facts and circumstances,” Boyd said. “We are also extending this review opportunity to the members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Department will be in contact to arrange the appropriate review sessions in the near future.”
Boyd also addressed House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has shown his support for Nunes regarding the Committee’s requests for the documents. Ryan, who served nearly two decades in Congress, announced his decision to not seek re-election Wednesday citing he doesn’t want to be “a weekend dad.”
The un-redacted version of the originating “electronic communication” reveals that the Committee is looking into the FBI’s reason for initiating the investigation into alleged collusion between President Trump and Russia in the 2016 presidential election. The document is a detailed report of how the Bureau and other intelligence agencies may have obtained the information from Australian authorities of a conversation short-term Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos had with one of their diplomats at a London bar.
As previously reported, Nunes originally asked Wray for assistance on Feb. 27 for an un-redacted copy of the originating “Electronic Communication.” On March 14, when committee investigators were given access to the document from the FBI it was a heavily redacted version, according to the letter and congressional officials. Nunes called Wray on March 15 and voiced his dissatisfaction with the FBI’s failure to produce the UN-redacted documents, according to congressional officials.