House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is running out of patience and said Thursday executive branch officials will soon be hit with subpoenas to force compliance with a request for copies of memos created by former FBI Director James Comey.
Nunes’ panel, as well as House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatee, (R-Va.) and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-S.C.), had asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to hand over the documents as part of their review of Comey.
The chairmen earlier this week agreed to give Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein an extension until Monday to hand over the memos. But Nunes said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that he believes more forceful action will be necessary.
“At the end of the day, what’s going to have to happen is we’re probably going to have to issue a subpoena if they don’t come here within, you know, in the next hour,” he said. “That’s where we’re at.”
The memos, in part, detail Comey’s private interactions with President Donald Trump. After the president fired him last year, Comey used a Columbia University School of Law professor to leak parts of those memos to The New York Times.
Comey later testified before Congress that his intention was to get a special counsel appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
The strategy worked. But now House Republicans want to examine the memos to determine whether they contained classified information or if their release via Comey’s leaking violated DOJ rules.
Resistance by the department is part of a pattern dating back more than a year, Nunes said.
“They never seem to learn,” he said. “They never seem to get it … I have not found them to be forthcoming with any information.”
Nunes renewed his call for a special counsel to review the actions of top officials at the FBI and the Justice Department who participated in launching a counterintelligence probe focused on allegations of collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and individuals or groups linked to the Russian government.
That investigation was based, in part, on the so-called dossier of unverified and salacious accusations against then-candidate Trump. Christopher Steele, an ex-British spy with an intense dislike of Trump, produced the document for FusionGPS, an opposition research firm that had been hired by the Democratic National Committee and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“The Department of Justice and the FBI, they’re in no position to investigate themselves,” Nunes said. “And the more that this goes on, the more they withhold documents, the worse this gets.”
Nunes said his estimation of Comey has only sunk during the former FBI director’s whirlwind tour promoting “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” his anti-Trump book.
“Mr. Comey has said a lot of really crazy things over the last year since he was fired,” Nunes said. “And actually, the more he talks, the more it comes out, you know, why he was fired. This is somebody who didn’t have the temperament for the job, in my opinion.”
Nunes blasted Comey for engaging in speculation — without evidence — that Russian agents might have dirt on the president.
“That’s totally inappropriate, because I could say it’s certainly possible Russians have dirt on all sorts of Americans … It’s totally inappropriate for the FBI director, former FBI director, to say stuff like this.”