The Department of Justice offers key testimony in Russia’s investigation while the Speaker of the Intel Chamber threatens contempt –

The Department of Justice offers key testimony in Russia’s investigation while the Speaker of the Intel Chamber threatens contempt


The interview, the product of a month-long negotiation, arises when a dispute between Justice officials and the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives has been extended to the public without too much context.

Shortly after 8 p.m. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump fired a tweet targeting the Justice Department and the FBI, this time accusing his top law enforcement agencies of hampering Russia's investigation of the Intelligence Committee.

"Give this information NOW!" Trump tweeted.

In fact, sources familiar with the negotiations tell CNN that despite Nunes' public accusations of "obstruction", the Justice Department met with Nunes almost two months ago, and its members of the Committee's staff Intelligence has reviewed – throughout the last two months – highly clbadified materials on the file, including significant details on who paid, if any, and what the FBI did, in any case, to verify its contents.

In fact, only a few hours before Fox News published its report On Wednesday night, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who has put himself in the role of Attorney General Jeff Sessions after having abstained from all matters related with the FBI's investigation in Russia – he had spoken on the phone with Nunes and agreed to allow House investigators to interview the FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, as long as he was not questioned about the ongoing investigation of special lawyer Robert Mueller in Russia.

Nunes intensified the dispute over the weekend, accusing the Justice Department of "falsehood" and threatening senior department officials and the FBI with contempt of Congress if they fail to comply with their summons lawsuits by Monday afternoon.

"We do not agree with the characterization of the President and we will continue to work with congressional committees to provide the information they request in accordance with our national security responsibilities," said Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, a statement on Sunday. "The Department has already provided members of (the House Intelligence Committee) and Chamber leaders with several hundred pages of clbadified documents and multiple reports, including, for example, clear answers about whether payments were made to the FBI to a source related to the file, and has recently eliminated key witnesses who have requested to testify, including Mr. McCabe, Mr. (Peter) Strzok and the alleged controller in question. "

The dossier


The circumstances surrounding the Steele file and its sources of funding have proven to be a very repeated criticism used by the Trump White House in the midst of a political and legal whirlwind of investigations related to Russia.

Originally funded by Republican opponents of Trump during the primary campaign, news reports have since revealed that a law firm for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee later helped fund the opposition's investigation in Trump retaining the inte The intelligence firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Steele.

"The workers of the company involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the fifth, who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Democrats (or all)?" Trump tweeted in October and added that, two days later, "The Department of Justice and / or the FBI should immediately release whoever paid."

Nunes issued subpoenas for Fusion GPS's financial records in October, and then reached a confidential agreement with the research firm and its bank, a resolution that Nunes said at the time "would secure the committee's access to the records necessary for its investigation."
But a couple of separate subpoenas issued by the House Intelligence Committee in late August to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray requested a wide range of documents related to the file, including those related to the payments the FBI made to Steele, efforts to corroborate provided information, and if the FBI used information from the file to request orders to monitor under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Trump badociates, according to a letter obtained by CNN in September.
  Nunes expresses anger at Sessions by subpoena, threatens to hold AG, FBI boss in contempt

Despite his public safety that he was brushing aside the Russian investigation and delegating authority to Representative Mike Conaway of Texas, Nunes signed the subpoenas.

Nunes became the subject of an ethical investigation after embarking on a clandestine trip to the White House in March to inform the president that his communications might have been swept up in the surveillance of foreign targets. The Democrats cried, but Nunes denied having committed any fault.

Ranking of the Intelligence Committee Democrat Adam Schiff of California expressed concern on Sunday about the citation process.

"I am concerned … that our president is willing to use the Chamber's subpoena and power of contempt, not to determine how the Russians interfered in our election or if the President obstructed Justice, but only to distract us from the core of our research, "Schiff said in a statement.

Nunes does not attend the briefing

Nunes, a Republican from California, has nevertheless gone ahead with his own investigations related to the file, accusing the Department of Justice and the FBI of not cooperate on the road.

"We" am trying to work with the Department of Justice and the FBI. We hope they comply, but if they do not, they leave us with very little choice, "Nunes told Fox News last week, adding that" citations have not yet been complied with "and" obstructionism would put it lightly "- a statement that left the officials of the Justice Department scratching their heads.

At the end of September, department officials believed they had reached an agreement with the committee to provide a substantial briefing with the FBI, in a two-party manner , for Nunes and Schiff.

However, when the time came for the meeting, the Nunes committee staff insisted that it was supposed to be only for Republicans: the main Justice officials provided two separate reports (although substantially identical) first to Nunes and then to Schiff, according to a source with knowledge of the reports.

Later in October, officials of the Department of Justic They invited Nunes, Schiff, House Speaker Paul Ryan, minority leader Nancy Pelosi and her staff to check certain highly clbadified materials in a safe place in the department with FBI officials.

Nunes did not appear.

A spokesman for Nunes refused to address why in response to CNN's questions.

According to sources familiar with the October review session, Schiff and his committee staff attended together with Nunes and Pelosi badistants. They were allowed to review copies of highly clbadified materials, a document showing the original establishment of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation and who authorized it, and a reading of a high-level national security report that the FBI provided to both presidential campaigns. of foreign actors, including Russia.

Additional questions Nunes's team has focused on, including what, if anything, the FBI did to verify the information in the file, if the FBI paid Steele, and who paid Fusion GPS (including if the Republicans did) They were also answered, the sources said.

  Donald Trump Jr. speaks with the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors

When CNN asked about what the payment history shows, if anything, the Justice Department declined to comment

Threat of contempt

Meanwhile, Rosenstein has received a series of calls not only from Nunes, but also from President Ryan.

After Nunes refused to attend the highly clbadified report in the Department of Justice, Ryan's office called Rosenstein to ask the Republican representative of South Carolina, Trey Gowdy, member of the Intelligence Committee, to allow him to see the materials instead of Nunes, and the department agreed, ultimately giving Gowdy, Ryan's staff and, once again, the Nunes committee staff time to do it, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Nunes says it's too little, too late and now directing his staff to write "a disregard for the Congress resolution" against Rosenstein and Wray unless all of their outstanding demands are "fully met" before Monday's close .

"We are aware of the constant flight tactics of the Department of Justice, spreading false information, obstructing our investigations and making absurd excuses for noncompliance, but none of that will help them any more, they have until tomorrow afternoon to provide us all pending documents, "Nunes said in a written statement to CNN on Sunday.

At this point, the sources familiar with the pending Nunes requests say that the Department of Justice has communicated that certain highly confidential transcripts that he wants simply do not exist and the production of other very confidential raw intelligence reports would probably go into conflict with the department's national security responsibilities.

Nunes had also asked Justice officials in October why Peter Strzok, who led the FBI investigation on the Clinton e-mail server, was removed from Mueller's team and demoted to human resources at the FBI, the officials said. sources. At that time, officials chose not to respond, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

After Saturday's news reports appeared that Strzok had been demoted after sending text messages that could be interpreted as political bias against Trump and justice. The Inspector General of the Department is investigating, Nunes issued a statement criticizing the Department.

"By hiding from Congress and the American people, he documented the political bias of a key FBI investigator for both the Russian collusion investigation and Clinton's email inquiry," The FBI and the DOJ participated in a intentional attempt to thwart the constitutional oversight responsibility of Congress, "said Nunes.

The Department of Justice agreed that Strzok be interviewed by the Intelligence Committee in the coming weeks.

CNN Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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