House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes revealed Sunday that Congress will hold Department of Justice Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt for refusing to turn over classified information the committee has requested, he stated in a phone interview with Fox and Friends.
The Department of Justice also shot back on Sunday, releasing the letter sent to Nunes on May 3, which addressed the classified information Nunes had requested. It appears from the letter Nunes had asked for information on a specific individual, not yet named and considered by DOJ to be a very valuable person for a counterintelligence operation.
“Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities,” stated the May, 3 letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd.
But Nunes is not buying it. He warned Sessions that ignoring deadlines requested by Congress will result in contempt. Nunes also referred to comments lambasting Special Counsel Robert Mueller by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who said in a Virginia Federal Court Friday, “we don’t want anyone in this country with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special prosecutor has power to do anything he or she wants…The American people feel pretty strongly that no one has unfettered power.”
“The only thing left that we can do is we have to move quickly to hold the Attorney General of the United States in contempt…”
Nunes noted that two weeks ago, the committee sent a classified letter to Sessions and “per usual it was ignored… last week we sent a subpoena and we got a letter stating they are not going to comply with our subpoena on very important information that we need.”
“The only thing left that we can do is we have to move quickly to hold the Attorney General of the United States in contempt and that’s what I’m going to press for this week,” Nunes said.
Boyd stated that Nunes’ request had been reviewed by all agencies, including the White House.
“After careful evaluation and following consultations with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the White House, the Department has determined that, consistent with applicable law and longstanding Executive Branch policy, it is not in a position to provide the information responsive to your request regarding a specific individual,” the letter states.
But according to Congressional sources the information requested is necessary for the committee to conduct its review and the constant battles with the DOJ and FBI hamper their ability to do sufficient oversight.
Nunes, like many others have noted their frustration with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation saying, “we found out Friday from the judge (Ellis) it kind of looks like this whole investigation has gone off the rails.”
“If you have a counterintelligence investigation opened up on you as an American citizen, this is done secretly with only a few peoples knowledge and if they go to court they go to a secret court to get a warrant on you like they did with Carter Page. So there is a very small apparatus in our country that holds the check and balance authority between Congress and the Executive Branch and when the Obama administration decided to move forward on a counterintelligence investigation in a campaign of all things that’s how we’ve gotten to here,” he added.