Members of the GOP House Freedom Caucus — led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Trump confidant — have been engaged in disputes with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the Justice Department’s response to congressional requests for documents about the decisions and behavior of federal law enforcement officials working on the Russia investigation and other federal probes, including the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server.
The purpose of these members of Congress is to run interference for the Trump administration with the Special Counsel, and to “investigate the investigators” to undermine public confidence in the DOJ nd FBI. In short, they are accessories to a conspiracy for the obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.
Congress is not entitled to review evidence or work product in an ongoing criminal investigation by the Department of Justice. DOJ Rules provide:
1-7.400 – Disclosure of Information Concerning Ongoing Criminal, Civil, or Administrative Investigations
- Any communication by DOJ personnel with a member of the media relating to a pending investigation or case must be approved in advance by the appropriate United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, except in emergency circumstances. For administrative investigations not overseen by a U.S. Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, approval must be obtained from the Assistant Attorney General for Administration. Where the investigation is being handled by the Office of the Inspector General, approval must come from the Inspector General.
- DOJ generally will not confirm the existence of or otherwise comment about ongoing investigations. Except as provided in subparagraph C of this section, DOJ personnel shall not respond to questions about the existence of an ongoing investigation or comment on its nature or progress before charges are publicly filed.
- When the community needs to be reassured that the appropriate law enforcement agency is investigating a matter, or where release of information is necessary to protect the public safety, comments about or confirmation of an ongoing investigation may be necessary, subject to the approval requirement in subparagraph A.
[updated April 2018]
Nevertheless, DOJ has previously provided Congress with hundreds of texts between ex-Mueller team agent Peter Strzok and alleged mistress Lisa Page in pursuit of a right-wing conspiracy theory. And DOJ recently turned over redacted Comey memos to congressional committees.
Within minutes after Republicans received these investigation materials, they were selectively leaked to the media. AP obtains Comey memos on Trump interactions. Congressional Republicans have not demonstrated that they are acting within the confines of legitimate congressional oversight, or even in good faith.