The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Thursday for former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe’s memos as well as the supporting documents the FBI used in its application to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Republicans requested McCabe’s memos from the Justice Department over the summer and were told they would not be shared, according to several lawmakers. But the revelation last week that McCabe suggested in his memos that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein considered recording President Trump in an apparent effort to remove him from office put new urgency behind the GOP’s desire to see the documents.
Rosenstein has denied he made any such suggestion. The White House said earlier this week that Rosenstein would meet with Trump on Thursday to discuss the reports, but the meeting was postponed until next week.
In recent days, conservative lawmakers have weighed pushing for a vote on a resolution to impeach Rosenstein, after failing to secure such a measure over the summer. Some, such as Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, have also called for Rosenstein to resign if he is not willing to come to Capitol Hill and explain himself. On Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a Freedom Caucus co-founder, said lawmakers were “moving in a good direction” toward securing Rosenstein’s testimony “soon.”
The Judiciary Committee’s subpoena does not include a summons for Rosenstein. It does also demand that the Justice Department furnish “all documents supporting” claims the FBI made in its application to conduct surveillance on Page, as well as documents from the department’s probe of Russian interference during the 2016 elections that were previously shared with the “Gang of Eight” — a bipartisan group of congressional and intelligence committee leaders who receive the highest-level classified intelligence briefings in Congress.
A group of conservative Republicans, including Meadows and Jordan, had previously requested that Trump declassify those documents, as well as parts of the actual application to surveil Page. The president initially agreed to do so but then reneged on his promise several days later, after allies impressed upon him that it would be a dangerous move.
Leading Democrats, who had also warned against declassifying the materials, because of national security concerns, stressed again Thursday that the materials contained too much sensitive information to be shared with the panels.
Trump’s about-face had “not stopped the President’s enablers in Congress from trying to obtain these documents themselves so that they can selectively leak and misrepresent the information they contain in an attempt to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement Thursday.
Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said in a joint statement: “House Republicans are playing a very dangerous game by attempting to force the Department of Justice to reveal materials relating to an ongoing criminal investigation to protect President Trump. Republicans have shown time and time again that they are willing to cherry pick, mischaracterize, and leak sensitive law enforcement and counter intelligence information, putting our national security at risk.”
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that reviewing the documents is “essential to our investigation.”
He gave the Justice Department until Oct. 4 to produce the subpoenaed materials.
The subpoena comes on top of a series of letters that House Republicans recently issued to various potential witnesses they hoped to interview as part of their ongoing probe. According to Judiciary Committee Democrats, that list includes former FBI director James B. Comey; former attorney general Loretta E. Lynch; former acting attorney general Sally Yates; former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI; and Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the research firm behind a now-famous dossier alleging Trump has various personal and business ties to Russia.
On Thursday, attorneys for Simpson wrote to Goodlatte and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, to decline the invitation, complaining that the panels were biased, that Republican members had been “smearing him” and that Trump’s “staunchest protectors” on the committees were simply out “to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation.”
“Mr. Simpson will not agree to an interview conducted by this task force, which has established a clear record of flouting its own rules of confidentiality and ignoring and abusing the rights of Americans who come before it,” they wrote.