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House Judiciary chairman Goodlatte to SUBPOENA DoJ for Comey memos

(National SentinelServing Notice: House Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is expected to subpoena the Justice Department, perhaps as early as this week, for copies of memos written by fired FBI Director James Comey.

As reported by The Hill, Goodlatte will file his subpoena as a way of pressuring the DoJ into giving him access to lawmakers can examine seven memos that Comey claims to have written in 2017 as he interacted with President Donald J. Trump, two sources told the news site.

Goodlatte notified the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Jarrold Nadler, D-N.Y., that the subpoena would be issued. Under rules of the committee, the chairman is required to consult the ranking member two days “before issuing any subpoena,” which suggests that one is imminent.

The Hill reported further:

The order comes after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asked three powerful House lawmakers — Goodlatte, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) — to give him extra time to consult with the “relevant parties” on whether he can make the memos available to them. 

Rosenstein told lawmakers on Monday that the Comey memos may relate to an “ongoing investigation,” contain confidential information and “report confidential presidential communications” so they have a “legal a duty to evaluate the consequences of providing access to them,” according to copy of the letter obtained by The Hill.

Lawmakers suggested the relevant parties that must be consulted could mean both the White House and special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team.



“The position that they are taking is that it may relate to ongoing investigations, i.e. the special counsel,” Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on Tuesday.

If the memos pertain to Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, it’s possible lawmakers will have a tough time getting the Justice Department to hand them over.

In his letter to lawmakers on Monday, Rosenstein made reference to a 1941 opinion by Attorney General Robert Jackson who noted “all investigative reports are confidential documents of the executive department and that congressional and public access thereto would not be in the public interest.” Rosenstein pointed to a long line of his predecessors who agreed with that finding.

“Investigative reports include leads and suspicions, and sometimes even the statements of malicious or misinformed people. Even though later and more complete reports exonerate the individuals, the use of particular or selected reports might constitute the grossest injustice, and we all know that a correction never catches up with an accusation,” Jackson argued at the time.

Rosenstein also made reference to a memo written in 1989 by Attorney General William Barr which said that the DoJ cannot submit to a congressional subpoena because it conflicts with the department’s role in preserving the “executive branch’s general interests in maintaining essential confidentiality.”

Should Rosenstein take those positions, it is far more likely that President Donald J. Trump will have to intervene.

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