Overshadowed thanks to the drama on the presidential campaign trail, the House Government Oversight Committee is still conducting hearings on what should still be known as email-gate. The House committee wants to know what the FBI heard from the players involved in their interviews. The documents produced from those sessions are commonly known as 302s in Washington – and the FBI is not voluntarily giving them to the House Committee.
“It’s ‘trust, but verify’ is how it works,” Chaffetz told FBI acting legislative affairs chief Jason Herring. “You don’t get to decide what I get to see. I get to see it all.”
But they are giving them to the Senate with restrictions.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley voiced a similar complaint Monday, saying his panel—which has primary oversight responsibility over the Justice Department and the FBI—was unable to access even the unclassified information the FBI turned over to the Senate because of restrictions the FBI placed on the records.
“The FBI is trying to have it both ways,” Grassley said on the Senate floor. “At the same time it talks about unprecedented transparency, it’s placing unprecedented hurdles in the way of Congressional oversight of unclassified law enforcement matters. It turned over documents, but with strings attached.”
Grassley said he’s objected to the limits, complaining both to the FBI and within the Senate. “The Senate should not allow its controls on classified material to be manipulated to hide embarrassing material from public scrutiny, even when that material is unclassified,” the Judiciary Chairman and Iowa Republican said.
And now, the House wants those same documents that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) insists will eventually make it to the committee after a lengthy Freedom of Information Act process…to which Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) responded, Since when does Congress wait for FOIA.
Late Monday, a lackey of James Comey, Director of the FBI, was on the hot seat saying that he could not guarantee to produce the investigative summaries. So, Chaffetz lowered the boom.
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“That’s the way a banana republic acts, not the way the United States of America acts,” he said. “I don’t expect to have to issue a subpoena to see unclassified information.”
The play was a bit on the dramatic side, but it’s very clear that the House Oversight Committee is trying to do their work and they are being stonewalled by one of the very agencies they are supposed to be overseeing.
The full point involving Hillary Clinton’s irregular email set up may well be moot given the events over the weekend, but at least the House of Representatives is making an effort to at least LOOK like they are trying to get to the bottom of it.