DOJ stiff-arms House Republicans in first response to House Judiciary Committee requests
The Justice Department on Friday told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, it would not provide certain information related to its ongoing investigations that Jordan has been seeking for months. But it said it would otherwise negotiate in “good faith” with House Republicans as they push for tougher oversight of the department.
In a letter Friday, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs Carlos Felipe Uriarte outlined the process by which the department said it is prepared to negotiate in “good faith” with Congress, which includes staff-level meetings and at least two weeks notice for congressional testimony requests.
Uriatre also said that, according to “longstanding department policy,” certain details about ongoing DOJ investigations would be withheld.
“Consistent with longstanding policy and practice, any oversight requests must be weighed against the Department’s interests in protecting the integrity of its work,” Uriarte wrote.
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“Longstanding Department policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests or providing non-public information about our investigations,” Uriarte added.
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“The Department’s obligation to ‘protect the government’s ability to prosecute fully and fairly’ is vital to the Executive Branch’s core constitutional function to investigate and prosecute criminal matters.”
Jordan had sent a letter to Attorney General Garland Jan. 17 outlining previous requests he made prior to becoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the 118th Congress and accused the agencies of “stonewalling” those requests.
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Some of the requests included information on the FBI’s raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, alleged FISA abuse, information on domestic violent extremism cases and the Justice Department’s efforts to monitor parents at school board meetings and label them as domestic terrorists, among other issues.
“Your January 17 requests — made now in your position as Chairman — initiate the constitutionally mandated accommodation process,” Uriarte wrote Friday. “Under this process, the Legislative and Executive Branches have a constitutional obligation to negotiate in good faith to meet the informational needs of Congress while protecting the institutional interests of the Executive Branch.”
“We believe that good-faith negotiations will enable us to meet the Committee’s needs while protecting the Department’s institutional interests,” he said.
In the first of what is anticipated to be many contentious communications between Biden’s DOJ and House Republicans, Uriarte invoked former Republican president Ronald Reagan.
“As President Reagan explained in his 1982 directive on responding to congressional requests for information, the ‘tradition of accommodation’ should be ‘the primary means of resolving conflicts between the branches,’” Uriarte said.
Fox News Digital’s Kelly Laco and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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