On Friday, the DOJ informed the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee that “it might not always be possible” to cooperate with the committee’s investigation demands.
“While we will work tirelessly to accommodate requests for congressional testimony, it might not always be possible to take part or address all of the topics the Committee wants to raise,” Carlos Uriarte, assistant AG for the Office of Legislative Affairs, wrote in a letter to chairman Rep. Jim Jordan.
Republicans’ desires “must be balanced against the DOJ’s interests in safeguarding the integrity of its work,” Uriarte said.
Jordan called the DOJ this week, in his first correspondence since becoming committee chairman, to formally request records, communication, and testimony from a number of DOJ officials.
Jordan’s requests concerned the committee’s investigations into the Department of Justice’s handling of certain parents attending school board meetings, raids on Project Veritas employees’ homes and Mar-a-Lago, its role in the southern border crisis, implementation of the FACE Act, execution of the Jan 6 investigations, and other allegations of “alleged politicization and bias.”
The committee is also home to the recently formed Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Federal, a strong group with a large budget and a broad mandate to investigate alleged civil liberties abuses by government agencies, including the DOJ.
Jordan will lead the panel, which was formed last month by House legislation with no Democratic backing. Once Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) assigns members to the panel, the Ohio Republican is anticipated to handle some of his DOJ investigations through it.
The resolution “authorized and directed” the panel to scrutinize investigations conducted by the executive branch, “including current criminal investigations.”
The Department of Justice’s correspondence on Friday, however, indicates that the two arms of government are approaching a stalemate as the committee — and the new select subcommittee — strive to fulfill their oversight responsibilities.
“Longstanding Department policy prohibits us from responding to congressional queries by confirming or denying the existence of active investigations or sharing non-public intel about our investigations,” Uriarte wrote.
In a social media post on Friday, the Judiciary Committee asked, “Why is the DOJ terrified to cooperate with our investigations?”
Jordan, who has been on the House Judiciary Committee since he joined Congress 16 years ago, has stated in writing to the DOJ that if necessary, he will issue subpoenas to collect the records, emails, and testimony he has requested.
“Republicans aren’t concerned about anything,” a source close to the committee said, adding that “it won’t distract or hinder anything in the least when it comes to the oversight of the department.”