Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, doesn’t want to let his latest request for classified information tied to the Russia investigation to be ignored. Three days ago, the Justice Department responded to a subpoena from Nunes’ committee for classified information and denied him the documents. The department cited that producing the documents could gravely affect national security, and therefore could not do so.
Not satisfied with the response, Nunes has proclaimed that he’ll seek Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be held in contempt of Congress. According to CNN, the documents that he’s seeking are simply “very important,” but hasn’t disclosed further details.
Recently, Nunes has been criticized and questioned after he demanded classified documents revealing the beginning of the Russian collusion investigation. According to Yahoo News, Nunes didn’t even read the documents that he asked for. Laura Ingraham asked Nunes on Fox News, “So how serious are you?” In response, he said that “We use the power that we have vested in us by the Constitution to try and force the Department of Justice and the FBI to comply with these document requests.”
Nunes has successfully requested many classified documents in the past. In addition to documents that reveal the beginning of the Russian collusion investigation, he’s received the Trump and Russia dossier.
— Matthew Continetti (@continetti) March 31, 2017
Currently, Nunes’ committee is investigating allegations that the Justice Department and FBI violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during Trump’s presidential campaign, reported Fox News.
On Fox and Friends, Nunes said that it’s possible that Sessions was unaware of the subpoena request, although it’s likely that Sessions knows about the situation now.
Supporters of Nunes include House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
“I have deeper and deeper concerns the more I see some of this, not only the stonewalling, but what’s been in some of these memos,” Scalise said.
If the information that Nunes is seeking casts the Justice Department in a negative light, the department would have reason to stall or stonewall Nunes’ attempts to obtain the information. On the other hand, if the classified information truly would put national security at risk, then the department should not release the documents.
The Washington Examiner speculated that Nunes announcing his intent to ask Congress to hold Sessions in contempt is due to all of the times previously that he’s been frustrated during his attempts to gather important information.
Previously, Lois Lerner, former top Internal Revenue Service officer and former Attorney General Eric Holder have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify or for refusing to release documents.