The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) demanded Wednesday that the FBI and DOJ comply with the committee’s subpoena to review documents pertaining to the bureau’s Russia investigation. In particular, the committee wants the un-redacted version of the original investigative document, also known as “Electronic Communication” that launched the FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, according to a letter issued by the Chairman.
Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, sent the letter to Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray warning them that their lack of compliance with the committee’s original Aug. 24, 2017 subpoena to turn over all requested documents could result in “the Committee pursuing all appropriate legal remedies, including seeking civil enforcement” in a federal district court. The committee gave the FBI and DOJ until April 11 to turn over all the documentation requested.
The request for the un-redacted version of the originating “electronic communication” is new and it reveals that the committee is looking into the FBI’s initiation of the investigation into alleged collusion between President Trump and Russia in the 2016 presidential election. The document would be a detailed report of the FBI’s reasoning to move forward with the investigation into the Trump campaign after the bureau was informed by Australian authorities of a conversation Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos had with one of their diplomats at a London bar.
“This is a key document in getting the whole thing started,” stated a congressional official, with knowledge of the investigation. “The DOJ and FBI are attempting to keep us from seeing an un-redacted copy of it.”
Nunes had originally asked Wray for assistance on Feb. 27 for an un-redacted copy of the originating “Electronic Communication” but on March 14 when committee investigators were given access to the document from the FBI it was a heavily redacted version, according to the letter and congressional officials.
Nunes called Wray the next day and voiced his dissatisfaction with the FBI’s failure to produce the UN-redacted documents.
“At your request, I have endeavored to execute the Committee’s oversight responsibilities more informally,” Nunes said in his letter. “On March 23, 2018, FBI’s Assistant Director for Legislative Affairs informed the Committee that FBI would refuse to further un-redact the EC based on its supposed sensitivity. The document in question is not highly classified, and law enforcement sources have apparently not been shy about leaking to the press information that the Department and Bureau refuse to share with Congress.”