House Intel GOP accuses DOJ of limiting access in FISA probe

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that an upcoming Justice Department briefing on documents concerning the FBI's alleged use of an informant linked to President Trump's 2016 campaign does not satisfy an April 30 subpoena.

In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and signed by all 13 GOP members, the committee wrote that the DOJ limiting the briefing to the so-called "Gang of Eight" was "unacceptable and an affront to the oversight powers of the House of Representatives."

Speaking to Fox News' "Hannity" Wednesday night, committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said "people in America should be alarmed" at the Justice Department's actions "to hide information."

"How do you get to misleading Congress? By taking this information that we've been legally asking for – a legal subpoena that we're trying to enforce and you now move it upstairs and you go, 'Oh, no, no, this is now going to be super top-secret information that we’re only going to give to the Gang of Eight.'" Nunes said. "That's what's happening here."

The "Gang of Eight" refers to Republican and Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress as well as top lawmakers from the House and Senate intelligence panels.

"[T]he use of the 'Gang of Eight' to limit congressional access to intelligence information applies only to covert action activities approved and reported by the President," the committee wrote. "The documents subpoenaed ... are not covert action materials and as DOJ has represented are classified at the SECRET level.

"The DOJ's continued reliance on this inappropriate legal construct can only be understood as an intentional means to limit our constitutional oversight duties."


Last week, Nunes set a June 12 deadline for the Justice Department to hand over documents related to the alleged informant to all committee members "and designated staff." A DOJ official said last week that Thursday's scheduled briefing would include new materials and "documents that were available for review but not inspected by the members at the previous briefing [in May]."

Conservative Republicans in the House repeatedly have pressed for documents and questioned the Justice Department's conduct in the Russia investigation.

"We've kind of been faked out by the Department of Justice again and again," Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, an intelligence committee member, told Fox News. "We've been told we'll be able to see documents and then we show up and we're not able to do that ... It's important for DOJ to know we're not going to walk away from this. We're not going to say, 'Well, I guess that was hard. I guess we'll just give up on this battle.' We're not going to. We want to see this information."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., expressed his support for the committee last week, calling on the Justice Department to respond to what he called "legitimate document requests."

"Frankly, the sooner the Department of Justice complies with all of our document requests ... the better this is going to be for everybody," Ryan said June 7, "and had they complied with the document requests earlier when we made them, we probably could have spared the country of all of this drama."

Nunes told Fox News' Sean Hannity that his patience with Rosenstein "has run out."

"I already wanted to move to [hold Rosenstein in] contempt months ago," he said. "The speaker of the House believes that he can work with DOJ and we're going to continue to try to work that path ... And now it's really up to the leadership of the House and the president of the United States in order to make sure that our subpoena gets complied with."

Fox News' Catherine Herridge, Christina Cameron and The Associated Press contributed to this report.