An open clash between Congress and the Justice Department could be coming – and soon.
In a “Fox News Sunday” interview, Rep. Trey Gowdy vowed that the House Republican leadership is willing to use its “full arsenal of constitutional weapons” to get documents it’s seeking from the Justice Department related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the FBI’s investigation of the Donald Trump campaign.
And the Justice Department knows it.
In the interview, Gowdy said House Speaker Paul Ryan had gathered top House officials in a meeting Friday night with Justice officials to make the House position clear.
Besides Gowdy and Ryan, the meeting included Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the Intelligence Committee, and Robert Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray were among those on the Justice side, Gowdy said.
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“Under the heading of minor miracles, you had members of the House working on a Friday night,” Gowdy said. “Paul Ryan led this meeting. You had Devin Nunes, Bob Goodlatte, myself and everyone you can think of from the FBI and the DOJ, and we went item by item on both of those outstanding subpoenas.
“And Paul (Ryan) made it very clear; there’s going to be action on the floor of the House this week if the FBI and DOJ do not comply with our subpoena request,” he said.
“So, Rod Rosenstein, Chris Wray, you were in the meeting, you understood him just as clearly as I did. We’re going to get compliance or the House of Representatives is going to use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to gain compliance.”
It wasn’t clear what specific subpoenas he was referring to.
The words might have particular impact coming from Gowdy, who made headlines at the end of May when he defended the FBI’s handling of its investigation into “Russian collusion” with the Trump campaign.
While Gowdy stated outright then that the FBI did exactly what “my fellow citizens would want them to do” when it came to investigating whether Russian agents were involved with the Trump campaign, he’s now indicating there is more to know.
In an interview Thursday on Fox News’ “Special Report with Brett Baier,” Gowdy called the report that had just been released by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz a “dark day for the FBI and the DOJ.”
The report emphasized just how strongly biased some FBI personnel – particularly agent Peter Strzok and now-former FBI lawyer Lisa Page – were against Trump. Gowdy said that reflected badly on institutions Americans must be able to trust.
“We desperately need to have confidence in them,” Gowdy told Baier.
And the House wants to get its hands on the documents it’s demanding from Justice and the FBI, even if that takes the “full panoply of constitutional weapons available to the people’s house,” Gowdy said Sunday, according to Fox News.
“I don’t want the drama,” he said. I want the documents”