House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes said Monday that he will refuse to meet again with the Justice Department until officials release documents he has requested about the Russia investigation.
Nunes subpoenaed the Justice Department and threatened to hold officials in contempt of Congress if they refuse to release files regarding a confidential FBI informant who spoke to Trump campaign associates in 2016 about Russian election meddling. The California Republican said he and his colleague Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) had a “productive” meeting with DOJ officials a few weeks ago but ignored a Friday invite to meet again when they found out they would not be receiving the documents they wanted.
“We’re not going to go to another meeting where we don’t get documents, and then the meeting leaks out,” Nunes said Sunday on Fox News.
The confidential FBI source was reported last week to be Stefan Halper, 73, a Cambridge professor and veteran of the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations.
“Now, had Mr. Gowdy and I went to that meeting, you can bet they would have tried to pin that [leak] on us,” Nunes said. “We had what I thought was a productive meeting, and then, after that meeting, they’ve done nothing but leak and leak and leak.”
Critics of Nunes’s tactics previously worried that revealing the identity of the FBI informant could endanger his life.
“This is a dramatic and new and destructive low, I think, for the Congress of the United States basically to ignore the warnings of the FBI and Justice Department and potentially risk people’s lives,” said the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, California representative Adam Schiff. “What they would like this information for is clearly to be of service to the Trump defense team and further any narrative they have.”
President Trump blasted the DOJ and FBI for embedding a “spy” in his campaign, and called for documents about the operation to be released to Congress.
“If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” the president said Saturday on Twitter.