Top Republican considers DOJ subpoena in pursuit of Comey memos

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is considering a subpoena to obtain the controversial memos James Comey used to document conversations with President Trump, after the Justice Department missed a deadline to hand them over.

Goodlatte, R-Va., along with Reps. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had set a Monday deadline. But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein responded that officials still need to consult further, citing an ongoing investigation and concerns about classified material.

He said they are proceeding “as quickly as we can” and hoped to have a response by “mid-week.”

Yet as talks continue, the committee's ranking Democrat Jerry Nadler confirmed that Goodlatte signaled "his intent to issue a unilateral subpoena to the Department of Justice to obtain memos written by former FBI Director James Comey."

Nadler said the subpoena would be intended for Rosenstein, while panning the potential move as "theater" because Special Counsel Robert Mueller cannot "simply hand over evidence that is part of an ongoing criminal investigation."

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., speaks outside the Supreme Court after the court heard oral arguments on a case involving a rule stemming from two, decades-old Supreme Court cases on state's sales tax collection, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Washington. South Dakota v. Wayfair is a case arguing about whether a rule the Supreme Court announced decades ago in a case involving a catalog retailer should still apply in the age of the internet. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Goodlatte is considering a subpoena to obtain the memos of former FBI Director James Comey.  (AP)

Republicans contend there is “no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress.”

There are believed to be seven memos in total written by the fired FBI director and, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's investigators, four contain classified information.

In February, a judge ruled that Comey's Trump memos need to remain hidden from public view to preserve the integrity of the ongoing Russia probe.

In January, Grassley sent a letter to Rosenstein inquiring whether Comey had improperly leaked classified memos to a professor friend.

"According to press reports, Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to “detail [Comey’s] memos to the press,'" Grassley wrote.

"If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information," the letter continued.

Fox News' Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.