DOJ Signals to Rep. Jim Jordan It Won’t Hand Over Documents Related to Pending Investigations

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DOJ denies House GOP request for information on ongoing investigations

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has informed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that information about ongoing investigations will not be shared, in a letter on Jan. 20. The DOJ stated that “any oversight request must be weighed against the department’s interests in protecting the integrity of its work.”

Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs Carlos Felipe Uriarte writes in the DOJ’s letter that according to department policy, certain details about ongoing investigations must be withheld, but claimed that the department was prepared to negotiate in “good faith” with Congress.

“With respect to oversight requests for information and documents, we share your belief that congressional oversight is vital to our functioning democracy and we are committed to cooperating with the committee’s legitimate efforts to seek information, consistent with our obligation to protect executive branch confidentiality interests,” Uriarte writes.

Furthermore, Uriarte claims that longstanding department policy prevents it from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations, outlining department practices and its mission.

“The department’s obligation to ‘protect the government’s ability to prosecute fully and fairly’ is vital to the executive branch’s core constitutional function to investigate and prosecute criminal matters. The department’s mission to independently and impartially uphold the rule of law requires us to maintain the integrity of our investigations, prosecutions, and civil actions, and to avoid even a perception that our efforts are influenced by anything but the law and the facts. So does the department’s obligation to protect witnesses and law enforcement, avoid flight by those implicated in our investigations, and prevent additional crimes and attacks.”

Jordan Threatens to Issue Subpoenas

Jordan resent several requests for outstanding documents and information to Biden administration officials on Jan. 17 with a warning.

“Since the beginning of the Biden Administration, we have made several requests for information and documents concerning the operations and actions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These requests remain outstanding. As we begin the 118th Congress, we write again to reiterate our outstanding requests and ask that you immediately comply in full,” Jordan wrote in his letter (pdf) addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

By Ingólfur Stefánsson

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