The Justice Department said Friday that it is unlikely to share information about ongoing criminal investigations with the new GOP-controlled House, in a move that is sure to frustrate Republicans in the chamber.
In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan in response to a series of document requests, the Justice Department said that “any request for oversight must be weighed against the department’s interests in protecting the integrity From his job”.
The letter added: “The Department’s mission to independently and impartially uphold the rule of law requires that we maintain the integrity of our investigations, prosecutions, and civil actions, and that we avoid even the perception that our efforts are influenced by anything not be the law and the facts.”
House Republicans have made clear they plan to examine the Justice Department’s handling of politically sensitive investigations, including its role in ongoing special counsel investigations related to President Joe Biden’s handling of classified material and the former President Donald Trump.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee were quick to respond to the letter, tweeting on friday afternoon: “Why is the Department of Justice afraid to cooperate with our investigations?”
The letter is an early sign of the obstacles Jordan is likely to face, particularly as he tries to investigate the Justice Department and the FBI. House Republicans have been especially eager to dig into ongoing Justice Department investigations, including authorizing a judicial subcommittee tasked with investigating the alleged “weaponization” of the federal government, including “ongoing criminal investigations.”
The letter sheds light on how the department will resist providing information related to ongoing investigations, even as the department pledged Friday to accommodate requests from lawmakers when possible, citing former President Ronald Reagan.
“As President Reagan explained in his 1982 directive on responding to congressional information requests, the ‘accommodation tradition’ should be ‘the primary means of resolving inter-Branch disputes,’” the letter said.
Jordan is asking the department to produce documents related to the appointment of Robert Hur as special counsel in the Biden documents investigation, as well as the selection of Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney John Lausch to lead the initial review of the case, in addition to an extensive variety of internal and external communications on the matter.
Last week, Jordan sent new letters to several Biden administration officials, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Drug Enforcement Administration Director Anne Milgram, reiterating his requests for oversight and demands. of documents relevant to the Judiciary Committee’s investigations.
“The Administration’s filibuster must end,” Jordan wrote, outlining his plans to aggressively lobby Biden’s top officials even as the committee’s investigations are still in their infancy.
“House Judiciary Republicans are committed to holding each agency accountable under the new majority and will use mandatory processes, if necessary, to get answers for the American people,” he added.
This story has been updated with additional details.