The Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee have written to Chairman Bob Goodlatte sharply questioning his reluctance to hold hearings on the Trump administration’s possible obstruction of justice, the firing of FBI director James Comey and the actions of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
With our Committee on the sidelines, the situation grows more perilous by the day. Last month, President Trump took to Twitter to threaten Mr. Comey, cautioning that he “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Two weeks ago, the President floated the notion of firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller before his investigation even gets off the ground—over the loud objections of Democrats and Republicans alike. Last week, the President took aim at Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.” In anticipation of the President’s next attack, the public is now openly speculating about the line of succession at the Department of Justice.
In our Committee meetings, you have expressed reluctance to investigate these matters because “the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are also conducting investigations.” It falls to us—and not to the intelligence committees—to examine questions about obstruction of justice, the dismissal of the FBI Director, and any attempt to influence or pressure the leadership of the Department of Justice. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, agrees with us [see here] on this point, and our Senate counterparts are already working with Special Counsel Mueller to lay out the next steps of their investigation.
At other times, you have expressed unwillingness to debate these questions because “investigations into these matters are ongoing.” We appreciate the sensitivity of the work of the Special Counsel, but nothing about an ongoing investigation prevents us from acting responsibly and conducting our own oversight… [T]he investigation into Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server did not prevent you from asking either the Attorney General or the FBI Director about the case—long before the investigation itself had concluded.
At the beginning of this Congress—under your leadership and pursuant to your amendment to our oversight plan—the Committee made a commitment to conduct oversight into allegations of misconduct by executive branch officials.
We ask you to respect that commitment, and schedule hearings with the leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI without delay.
Congressman Goodlatte has not had the courtesy to even respond to any of the previous letters from Judiciary Committee Democrats since November (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here). Unfortunately there’s no reason to expect anything different this time.