Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee intend to subpoena memos written by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and call several key witnesses to testify, including former FBI director James B. Comey, according to panel Democrats.
Committee Republicans informed the Democrats of their intent to subpoena McCabe’s memos Tuesday night. The committee’s procedures require that the minority be given 48 hours’ notice before subpoenas are issued for documents or testimony, meaning the subpoena could be issued as early as Thursday.
Committee Democrats also learned that Republicans were planning to call Comey, as well as former attorney general Loretta E. Lynch, former acting attorney general Sally Yates, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos — who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI — and Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS, the research firm behind a now-famousdossier detailing allegations of President Trump’s business and personal ties to Russia.
Democrats were upset that committee Republicans had been negotiating with potential witnesses without consulting them. They only discovered that the witnesses had been contacted because of communications with one witness’s lawyer, according to a spokesman for the panel’s minority; Democrats then demanded to know whether other letters had been sent out.
“The Republican majority was initiating negotiations with interviewees without consulting with us, while presenting it as if they were,” said a spokesman for Judiciary Committee Democrats. “That is not just dishonest, it is misleading.”
House Republicans have been weighing how to respond to reports that McCabe’s memos indicated Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein suggested secretly recording Trump, potentially as part of a plan to remove him from office by invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Rosenstein has denied saying such things, but the controversy has fueled calls from conservative Republicans to bring him to Capitol Hill for more questioning about his reported comments. Last week, Rosenstein told White House officials he was willing to resign, prompting a chaotic start to the week as speculation swirled that he might be fired. Rosenstein and Trump are set to meet Thursday when the president returns from the U.N. General Assembly.
The Republicans’ notice of their intent to subpoena McCabe’s memos does not include a similar summons for Rosenstein’s testimony, according to committee Democrats, making it unlikely lawmakers hoping to grill him again will get the chance before Congress departs for an extended midterm campaign season.
A spokeswoman for House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) confirmed that the committee had subpoenaed McCabe’s memos. She did not immediately respond late Tuesday when asked about additional planned interviews with Comey and others.
Demanding the memos does, however, give conservative Republicans something they were looking for in addition to more face time with Rosenstein: documents they had been after since the summer.
“Give us the McCabe memos — I asked for those back in July in the meeting with the Justice Department,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a Monday interview — even though, he added, he didn’t “know how accurate they are” or “if you can trust” McCabe. Prosecutors are using a grand jury to assist in their investigation of McCabe, who was fired this year for misleading FBI officials probing unauthorized media disclosures.
Jordan and several of his conservative GOP peers were disappointed this week when Trump recanted on a recent promise to declassify several pages of the FBI’s application to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, along with supporting documents, as well as the official notes from interviews that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr conducted with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, the author of a memo detailing Trump’s alleged personal and business ties to Russia.
Democrats have warned that disclosing the information might compromise sources and methods; Republicans have countered that the biggest risk to the FBI is that the information might embarrass them.
“Let us see that information and all the other stuff that we have asked for,” Jordan said.